On the passing of a fellow commissioner Marna (Angell) Cohen

The Marin Human Rights Commission

By Melanie Nathan, January, 28,2013.

2013-01-24_18-36-02_322Just last week a Commission to which I was appointed a few years ago, The Marin Human Rights Commission,  held its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Gala , where we honored a fellow Commissioner, Marna Cohen, with a Lifetime Social Justice award.  Sadly Commissioner Marna Cohen passed away the next day. Her passing is a very sad loss for our Commission.

We at O-Blog-Dee – and our community of human rights defenders and readers from around the world – wish her family our condolences. (Picture Commissioner Cohen with her family receiving her award the day before she passed away)

Marna (Angell) Cohen

Marna (Angell) Cohen Age 91, passed away on January 26, 2013. She was born in 1921 in Croton-on-Hudson, NY, graduated from Antioch College and received a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Simmons College. She married her husband Irving Cohen in 1951. Marna’s passion in work and life was for social justice. She devoted herself tirelessly to improving the lives of those around her. She worked at Children’s Hospital of Buffalo and in 1962 moved to Mill Valley. The rest of her career was spent at UCSF Medical Center where she practiced social work in the Neonatal ICU and the Adolescent Medicine Unit for over 25 years. She was also an Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the UCSF School of Medicine.

Marna was deeply involved in the Civil Rights movement in the ’60s, fighting for housing desegregation and protesting the Vietnam War. After Irv’s death in 1985 and her retirement in 1986, her commitment to social justice only deepened. She was delighted to serve, as she once wrote, “without the drag of a contract for money.” Marna was a member of the Marin Civil Grand Jury, advocated for labor and delivery services for low-income women in Marin, helped create Support Services for Elders, and served on the board of Family Service Agency and Marin Institute on Aging.

She was active in the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and in 2001 was appointed to the Marin Human Rights Commission (HRC). On January 24, 2013, she was honored with the HRC Lifetime Social Justice Award. Marna participated in demonstrations against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and joined Seniors for Peace after she moved to The Redwoods. She was a devoted mother and grandmother, helping to raise her two grandchildren. Marna will be deeply missed by her daughter Judy Cohen-Baer (Bob Baer), her son Paul Cohen (Nancy Masters), her grandchildren Isabelle and Amelia, her friends, her colleagues, and her cat Ginny. Her unwavering spirit and dedication to service inspired all who knew her. A memorial to celebrate a life well lived and full of love will be held on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 2:00PM at the Redwoods, 40 Camino Alto, Mill Valley.  (OBIT Marin IJ)

Donations in her honor can be made to the Southern Poverty Law Center.   


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