Melvin E. Cohn
Resident of San Carlos
San Mateo County Superior Court Judge, Retired, Mel Cohn, born to (Ben and Hattie Cohn) in San Francisco on January 23, 1917 passed away peacefully in his San Carlos home on October 30, 2014. His wife Nita passed in 2011. They were married 64 years. Survived by son, Larry Cohn (Cindy), daughter, Cathy Cohn Gilley (Jess), daughter, Janet Borg (George), grandsons Ben and Jason Cohn, granddaughters, Corinne and Casey Gilley, great grandchildren, Elan and Aria Cohn.
Graduate of Lowell High School, Cal Berkeley (Go Bears) and Bolt Hall Law School. Mel opened his law practice in San Carlos in 1947, which is still in business as Aaronson, Dickerson, Cohn and Lanzone. He was San Carlos City Attorney for 17 years. He joined the San Carlos Kiwanis Club in 1947, serving as Secretary, Vice President and President, which lead him to a lifetime membership.
In 1939 he got his first Civil Service job at the Social Security Board in Washington, D.C.
He was a proud veteran of World War II-Pacific theatre as a Master Sergeant in the U.S. Army from 1942-1946.
In 1954, Mel was Chairman of the Democratic Central Committee, later taking a seat on the Executive Democratic Central Committee.
In 1963 Governor Pat Brown appointed Mel to Judge of the San Mateo County Municipal court. In 1964 Mel became one of two Municipal Judges to ever sit on the bench of the Superior court of San Mateo County. There he progressed to be Presiding Judge three consecutive terms, and became known as one of the best mediators in the county.
Among several accomplishments, Mel was Vice Chair of the Council Justice; lectured at the California Judicial College, on panels for the State Bar Association, Trial Judge of the Year, pro tem on the Court of Appeals, one of the founders of the Service League. The San Mateo County Law Library was dedicated and bears the name Cohn-Sorenson (Keith Sorenson) today. The bench in his first court room in the Old Courthouse was dedicated to Mel.
Melvin Cohn retired from the bench on October 31, 1981, yet still worked as a mediator until he was in his 80's.
Everyone who knew him has a "Mel Cohn" story to tell. He will be remembered by so many, and missed by all.
A public memorial in his honor will be held at the San Mateo County Courthouse Museum in Redwood City on his birthday, Friday, January 23, 2015 at 5:30 p.m.
Published by San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on Nov. 4, 2014.