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Joseph Cohen

1927 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Joseph Cohen Obituary
February 15, 1927 - September 21, 2017 Joseph Cohen, 90; Real Estate Developer, Innovator in Retail Flower Sales Joseph Cohen, native Angeleno, beloved flower retailer, successful real estate developer, respected patriarch of the Rhodesli Jewish community, died at his residence in Malibu. He was 90 years old. Joe and his twin sister, Josie, were born in Los Angeles on February 15, 1927 to Ezra and Ester Cohen, Ellis Island immigrants from Aleppo, Syria, and the Island of Rhodes, respectively. After coming to America, Ezra and Ester raised a big family - David (Dave), Morris (Morrie), Isaac (Ike), Lily, Albert (Al), Rachel (Rae), twins Joseph (Joe) and Josephine (Josie), Robert (Bobbie), and Shirley. Joe grew up in Historic South Central Los Angeles and attended Manual Arts High School where he would later meet his future wife, Sue Scapa. Joe's family and extended family were a presence in the flower business in Los Angeles for many generations. As a child, he went door to door selling fresh sweet peas and at night stopped by nightclubs to sell gardenias. Joe's innovative approach to selling flowers began as a teenager when he created large flower stands on street corners. After opening his first full service flower shop in 1950 on La Cienega and Melrose, Joe continued his innovative retail approach by showcasing large flower displays and creating holiday traditions such as the sale of pumpkins in large bulk displays. At La Cienega Flower Shop, Joe proposed to his beloved Sue Scapa, his then employee and friend. Together Joe and Sue grew their flower business and raised a family - Evonne, Bette, Rita, Ezra and Morris - Joe collectively called them EBREM. Joe and Sue have been married for 67 years. After constructing a new store at Melrose and Crescent Heights in 1965, Joe continued in the flower business for several decades. Over the years, Joe became increasingly interested in real estate and real estate development. Together with his brother Bob, he purchased the property at Third Street and Doheny and later developed the property into the world-class Four Seasons Hotel, Los Angeles. In 1985, Joe retired from the flower business to concentrate on real estate development, but the flower business tradition and entrepreneurial spirit lives on in his children and grandchildren. Joe had a passion for supporting artists and creative people, a love of America, and a deep commitment to his family and the Rhodesli community. He loved celebrations and family events which he proudly hosted over the years. Joe designed and built his final home in Malibu overlooking the Pacific Ocean where he created a spectacular garden of drought resistant plants and heirloom vegetables interconnected by meandering paths. He spent many of his free hours for the last 12 years viewing his "Garden," planning changes and additions to the garden, all while playing cards with Sue. Joseph Cohen is survived by his devoted wife Sue, his children Evonne (George), Rita, Ezra and Morris, his grandchildren Joseph (Melissa), Ezra, Suzanna (Aja), Jacob, Isabelle (Coco), and his great-grandson Oliver. His daughter Bette Jane (Steve) passed away in 2016. He is also survived by his twin sister Josephine Benveniste, sister Rachel Israel and brother Robert (Beverly). The funeral will be held at Hillside Memorial Park - 6001 Centinela Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90045 (Tel: 310 641-0707) Tuesday, Sept. 26th at 10:00 a.m.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Sept. 26, 2017
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