Obituary: Sheldon Cohen

Obituary: Sheldon Cohen

He was a psychiatrist, an advocate of sustainability, a runner and a swimmer, and he was devoted to public service.

Sheldon and Dot Cohen
Sheldon and Dot Cohen

Sheldon Bradley Cohen, beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, physician and friend, passed away Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017.

Sheldon was a psychiatrist who practiced for over 60 years, an avid runner of marathons and lowlier distances, an indomitable writer of letters to the editor, a member of the 1,000-mile swim club at the Lucky Street Y, an early and ardent advocate of conservation and sustainability, a tireless foe of smoking, an exhaustive rememberer and recounter of bad jokes, a compeller of people to pick up litter, turn off lights, close refrigerator doors and not keep cars running, a lover of books and music, and a man who saw wonder in so much.

Sheldon B. Cohen was born in Savannah on March 26, 1928, to Sara and Benjamin Cohen. Raised in Augusta, Sheldon liked to tell of his early entrepreneurial bent, selling soft drinks to construction workers and at ball games when he was 6. He later attended Richmond Academy, Augusta Junior College, Vanderbilt University and the Medical College of Georgia, from which he graduated at the age of 23, before working at the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kan.

While serving in the Navy in the summer of 1954, Sheldon met a woman with a broken radio at Virginia Beach and told this soon-to-be college senior, Dorothy Davidson, that he could fix it. He couldn’t, but less than a year later, she married him anyway, beginning what would become a 55-year love affair filled with family, friends, travel, service, ongoing debates about what temperature to keep the house and holding hands.

After a brief stay in New Orleans, where he was a resident at Charity Hospital and where their sons, Steve and Bruce, were born, Dot and Sheldon moved to Atlanta. There, in 1961, they had their daughter, Andrea, and moved into a house they built together, turning it into a home filled with love, art, family, friends, music, holiday meals and celebrations, Tuesday morning Bible study, and the occasional Wednesday evening tree crashing through the roof.

Sheldon practiced psychiatry for nearly 60 years in Atlanta and was deeply committed to his patients. Over the years he taught at Georgia Baptist and Emory School of Medicine. He was devoted to public service, especially through organizations related to medicine, health, conservation and sustainability. He was a member of the American Psychiatric Association, the Atlanta Medical Association, the Southern Medical Association and the American Medical Association and was a former editor of the American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis. He was also a longtime, avid supporter of Southface Energy Institute and so many other organizations.

Sheldon was predeceased by his loving bride of 54 years, Dorothy “Dot” Cohen, of blessed memory, and his younger brother, Adrian “Bunny” Cohen. In addition to his children, he leaves his daughter-in-law, Jennifer, and his much-beloved grandchildren, Ari, Naomi and Simon.

Sign the online guestbook at Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 12, at Greenwood Cemetery, 1173 Cascade Circle, Atlanta, with Rabbi Laurence Rosenthal officiating. The family would be honored to welcome friends for shiva at Bruce’s home Sunday and Monday at 7 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions be made to the Dot Cares Fund at Hospice Atlanta, 1244 Park Vista Drive, Atlanta, GA 30319, or to Southface Energy Institute, 241 Pine St. NE, Atlanta, GA 30308. Arrangements by Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 770-451-4999.

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