Dr. C. Harold Cohn

January 5, 1924 - February 11, 2021
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Peter c. Knerr
Peter c. Knerr
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Obituary

Dr. C. Harold Cohn passed away on February 11, 2021 at The Reading Hospital.  He managed to fit multiple lifetimes into his 97 years of existence.  He was a great man.

Born in 1924, he was the only child of Lillian Einhorn Cohn and Louis R. Cohn.  As a child, he enjoyed traveling and had two passports fully filled by the age of 12.  He graduated from Reading High School in 1941, then attended Bucknell University.  He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1943, served over 8 years and achieved the rank of Captain.  He graduated from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, PA in 1948.

Dr. Cohn was prideful of his Jewish faith.  He was a lifelong member first at Kesher Zion Synagogue and later at Reform Congregation Oheb Sholom, both in Reading, PA.

Despite all the rigors of his undergraduate and medical school studies, he was quite proud of his active social life, which included managing a fraternity house to subsidize his living expenses, frequent jaunts to New York City and being a lifelong Philadelphia sports fan.

Following his graduation from Jefferson, he embarked on a series of medical internships, residencies, and fellowships.  As part of his military medical service, he was a surgeon for ten months in a busy Army hospital unit stationed in Japan during the Korean War.  After his discharge from the Army, he returned to Jefferson where he contributed to medical history as one of the operators of the heart lung-machine pioneered by Dr. John Gibbon for the first open-heart surgery in 1953.  His exploration of the heart continued that year when he married Ruth Katz.

After working as a surgical resident with Dr. Gibbon for three years, he returned to Reading with Ruth and son David.  Throughout his long and distinguished medical career, he took great pride in always being the “Captain of his Medical Ship.”  He was on the staff and later appointed the Chief of Thoracic Surgery at The Reading Hospital, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Community General Hospital.  Early in his medical practice, he was one of the first surgeons recruited by Medtronic to implant cardiac pacemakers.  He retired from his full-time surgical practice in 1989.  He was then named as the Senior Consultant Surgeon to the Hospital Section of Thoracic Surgery at The Reading Hospital while continuing to instruct on vein transplantation.  He also became the first Medical Director for the Berkshire Health Plan PPO.

Throughout his medical career, he was held in the highest esteem by his colleagues.  He could be plainspoken to the point of being blunt, yet he would spend considerable time explaining detailed surgical outcomes to the families of his patients.

His joys in life were many and varied, including travel, the theater, music, cultural explorations as well as such simple joys such as a good cocktail, a well-made sandwich, and any dog he came upon.  He was a devoted golfer.  He relished fishing with colleagues and son Paul.  Friends were cherished.  In his later years, his daily calls to daughter Susan were many and frequently involved overcoming the unknown intricacies of his computer.

There could be little doubt that what brought him his greatest joy was his family – sharing in their many experiences, both simple and special.  He took great pride in the accomplishments of his children and granddaughters.   The love and respect he shared with his family were reciprocated with their own love and devotion to him.

He was preceded in death by Ruth K. Cohn, his wife of 59 years, and is survived by his children, David L. Cohn (Carol Borloff), Paul D. Cohn (Jo Ann Kisling) and Susan C. Evans; and granddaughters Abigail Wargo (Matt), Tessa Cohn, Sarah Evans, and Andrea Evans.  His last nine years were also filled with light and love with Rebecca J. Chick.

The family would like to thank the professional and nursing staff at Phoebe Berks for their kindness and care over the years.  Executive Director Star High’s unwavering professionalism was especially appreciated as she balanced his determined stubbornness with his care and safety.  We are also indebted to his aide Jean Chery for improving our father’s quality of life during the past two years.   Lastly, we want to thank the professional caring physicians and nurses at The Reading Hospital who provided our father with excellent clinical care as well as a wonderful and compassionate bedside experience.  We know our father would have been very proud of them all.

A celebration of his life will be scheduled when it is safe to gather.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in memory of Dr. C. Harold Cohn to either the Reading Hospital Foundation at P.O. Box 16052, Reading, PA 19612, https://events.towerhealth.org/make-a-gift/ or to the Wolper Educational Fund at Reform Congregation Oheb Sholom at https://ohebsholom.org/support/#ed/.

The Klee Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Inc., Shillington is assisting the Cohn family. www.kleefuneralhome.com

 

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Memorial Information

A celebration of this life will be scheduled when it is safe to gather.


Donation Information

Reading Hospital Foundation

P.O. Box 16052
Reading, PA 19612
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Wolper Educational Fund at Reform Congregation Oheb Sholom

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Timeline for Dr. C. Harold Cohn

Born: January 5, 1924
Died: February 11, 2021

Condolences for Dr. C. Harold Cohn

Klee Funeral Home

Our sincere condolences.

The staff of Klee Funeral Home.

 

Peter c. Knerr posted on 2/21/21

In memory of Dr. C. Harold Cohn, Peter c. Knerr lit a candle

 

Peter c. Knerr posted on 2/21/21

Dr. COHN SAVED MY LIFE ON FEB.15TH 1966, I WAS A 19 YEAR OLD MARINE ON LEAVE ON MY WAY TO VIET NAM. I WAS SHOT IN THE LEFT CHEST AND LUNG,IT WAS AT LEAST 1 AM IN THE MORNING,ST. JOSEPH HOSPITAL CALLED THE BEST. YOUR FATHER IT WAS A FOUR HOUR OPERATION AND I SURVIVED.I WILL BE 74 YRS OLD ON FEB 25TH. I THANKED YOUR FATHER AMD NOW I THANK HIS FAMILY. GOD BLESS,AND MAY YOU HAVE LONG LIFE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Livia & Marcello Luzi posted on 2/21/21

Our deepest condolences.

 

Carol Schell posted on 2/19/21

Doctor Cohn was a wonderful surgeon. I had the privilege of working with him for over 30 years in the Reading Hospital Operating Room. He was greatly missed when he retired, and will be greatly missed from this Earth.

 

Daniel F Downing posted on 2/19/21

I came to TRHMC in 1980 for the start of the open heart program. How wonderful for Dr. Cohn to seek me out. He explained he had a cardiac background in Philadelphia. We compared notes and found a few people we both knew. Over the ensuing few years I had the pleasure of working with Dr. Cohn. A warm person and a delight to work with. Certainly a life to be celebrated.

 

Christine Wullert posted on 2/18/21

Dear Cohn Family, It has been over a year since we, the World Affairs Council of Greater Reading, have been able to have our monthly breakfast programs but we were always able to count on Dr. Cohn being there - he was a longtime active member of our organization. He will be missed by many. He always had something to add to our speakers presentations or a request for more information. Sending our sympathy to you all on his passing. BTW I had no idea he was 97 - I thought he was mid 80's tops!

 

Dr. George Kershner posted on 2/18/21

Many of us who were friends and colleagues of Dr.Cohn are deeply saddened by his passing. He cared deeply about his patients and treated them with expertise and deep respect. His kindness was a deep inspiration to all those of us who shared with him in the care of our patients.

 

Ward Becker posted on 2/17/21

I was saddened to read of Dr. Cohn's passing. My sympathy to your families. The obituary was beautiful and so captured his essence. I knew Dr. Cohn professionally during and after my residency at Reading Hospital. I came to know him personally when I was his wife's physician at Phoebe Berks. He was always kind and very helpful. E. E. Cummings wrote that better worlds are not made, they are born and their birthday is the birthday of an individual. It is definitely a better world because Dr. Cohn was here. Ward Becker

 

Harry Ramsey posted on 2/17/21

I had the pleasure of practicing medicine and sharing many patients for years at the same time as Hal. He was always an astute, skilled, and caring physician. Patients, coworkers, and other docs always respected him. He will be greatly missed. Our sincere condolences to his family. Marnie & Harry Ramsey

 

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