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Sarah (Blacher) Cohen

Obituary
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Cohen, Sarah (Blacher) ALBANY, N.Y. Sarah Blacher Cohen, 72, died peacefully at home on Monday, November 10, 2008. Sarah was fortunate to spend her last years with her beloved husband of 42 years, Gary (Gordon) Cohen at her side. Dr. Cohen was a Professor Emerita at University at Albany, State University of New York, having recently retired after 33 years of teaching. She was an amazing person who forged a remarkable life, bringing scholarship, laughter, and inspiration to students, friends, colleagues, and audience members who are even, at this very moment laughing, cheering and crying over characters, jokes and poignant revelations of truth she helped to create. She overcame physical disability to become a renowned authority on Jewish humor and culture, was the general editor of the SUNY Press Series on Modern Jewish Literature and Culture, was awarded a Distinguished Fulbright Professorship to Yugoslavia, was a media consultant to the National Endowment for Humanities, a humor consultant for the Library of Congress and winner of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Muscular Dystrophy Society. Sarah wrote and edited seven books, numerous scholarly articles, and 11 plays and musicals, many in cooperation with her longtime partner, Joanne Koch of Chicago, Ill. Her plays continue to be performed around the world and in Off-Broadway venues. Born in Appleton, Wis., she was the daughter of the late Louis Blacher and Mary Kaminsky Blacher. In addition to her husband, Sarah is survived one sister, Bess Rosen Lichterman of Milwaukee; and nine nieces and nephews, Steve (Monique) Blacher of Boston, Lisa Blacher of Minneapolis, Bruce Blacher of Minneapolis, Dr. Stuart (Diane) Blacher of Milwaukee, Sheryl (Claudio) Pelc of Milwaukee, Lynn (William) Hurwitz of Milwaukee, Perry (Roberta) Rosen of San Diego, Nancy (Howard) Shimon of Milwaukee, Sandy (Steve) Borenstein of Milwaukee. Additionally, her large family included her sister-in-law, Loretta Uretz; nieces and nephews, Joseph (Dana) Zuckerman of Las Vegas, Howard (Mary) Zucker-man of Livonia, Mich.; and Sheila (Hobreigh) Fischer of Las Vegas, Nev. She is further survived, remembered and loved by numerous great-nieces and nephews and great-great-nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her parents; two brothers, Ben and David Blacher; her dear sister, Dorothy Seidelman; and nephew Brian Blacher. The Blacher Cohen family wishes to thank Marla Frazer, her longtime assistant, and the many caregivers, including Aesook, Cathleen, Dawn, Dominique, Jesse, Kimbria, Laura, Laurie, MaryJane, and Miriam for the comfort, dedication, and love they have shown to Sarah and Gary. Services will be held at the Levine Memorial Chapel, 649 Washington Avenue, Albany on Friday, November 14, 2008 at 1:00 p.m. Interment will follow in the Independent Benevolent Cemetery in Guilderland, N.Y. The family invites friends to join in sitting shiva (mourning for the family members) on Friday following the service of interment at the Cohen residence, 60 Buckingham Dr., Albany, N.Y. Those wishing to remember Sarah in a special way may make a contribution to the Disabled Student Services at the University at Albany, or a charity of your choice. For directions and to sign the online family guest book please visit, levinememorialchapel.com
Published in Albany Times Union on Nov. 14, 2008
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