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Ronald Cohen was born to Maxwell B. and Pauline (Golant) Cohen in Toronto, Canada on January 22, 1930. The Great Depression and World War II influenced his childhood. Graduating from the University of Toronto in 1951, he completed a master's degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and later worked as Lecturer at the University of Toronto while completing his Ph.D. in anthropology at Madison. He and Diana B. Williams married June 21, 1955. Their two sons are Stephen Benjamin and Paul Yerima. His brother Charles Cohen lives in Toronto and is preceded in death by a younger brother Arnold Cohen. For many years, Ron and Diana spent summers at a remote cottage near Pointe au Baril on Lake Huron's Georgian Bay.

As a Professor, Ron first taught at Montreal's McGill University before moving to the US in 1963, when he took a position at Northwestern University in Evanston until 1981. Publishing and editing in anthropology and political science throughout his career, he focused on family issues such as divorce, and on the socio-political origins of the state. Field research took him from the Mackenzie River, in Canada's Northwest Territories, to northern Nigeria, where he headed the Sociology Department at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria from 1972 to 1974.

He was a prominent member of both the Anthropology Department and Center for African Studies at the University of Florida from 1982 to 1994. Among his many contributions, he took a lead in establishing the annual Carter Conference at the Center, and in 1990 co-wrote a Ford Foundation grant in support of human rights and good governance in Africa.

Ron died in the early hours of May 25th at Shands Hospital, having survived the effects of a stroke over 23 years ago. Since then he lived at home in Micanopy with the love and support of family and friends. A memorial service will be held at the Church of the Mediator, 501 NE Cholokka Blvd., in Micanopy on June 1 at 11:00 am. Clergy will be Elder Larry Latson, Rabbi Michael Joseph, and Father Les Singleton. As an expression of sympathy, memorial donations may be sent to the Southern Poverty Law Center, 400 Washington Ave., Montgomery, AL 36104.

Funeral Services entrusted to Duncan Brother's Funeral Home, Gainesville Florida.
Published in Gainesville Sun on May 31, 2018
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