Preparing Boys for Life

The Reverend Albert G. Cohen '45

September 24, 1927 - March 31, 2021

Albert Gleaves Cohen, minister, activist, ecologist and agitator, passed away on March 31, 2021. Albert was born in Washington, D.C. in 1927 to Evelina Gleaves Cohen and Albert Morris Cohen. Following in his father's footsteps, he graduated from the Haverford School, and then from the Naval Academy in 1949. He left the Navy in 1954 to join the ministry and attended the Graduate School of Theology at Oberlin College in Ohio. After becoming ordained as a minister in the United Church of Christ, he spent five years running the youth program at Oneonta Congregational Church in South Pasadena, California. Albert spent most of his career ministering to students in the Ecumenical Campus Ministry, first at Cal State Fullerton and then at Cal State University, Los Angeles. In 1996 he took the position of Executive Director of the Southern California Ecumenical Council, from where he retired in his mid-80's. During his time working with young people on campus, he also found time to "make good trouble," attending peace marches, organizing protests, registering voters in Mississippi and in Selma, Alabama, organizing trips to U.N. environmental conferences and generally "speaking truth to power." Albert married Ann Appley in 1954 and they raised four children, Anne, Todd, Jean and Peter. His second marriage was to Faith Annette Sand in 1982, during which they raised Faith's two daughters, Heather and Heidi Pidcoke. His marriage to Faith Sand also brought five adult Brazilian children from Faith's previous life as a missionary in Brazil – Maria Aparecida Carneiro, Jose Vital da Silva, Vera Noble, Maria Aparecida Luiz and Marineusa Viehweger, as well as an 'unofficial' adoptive son, Erik Oberholtzer. For decades, Albert's home in Pasadena was a hub for colleagues, neighbors, friends, exchange students, theologians and anyone looking for community and lively conversation. He will be remembered as a man of spiritual poise, a "grass roots" advocate of social justice and the environment, with a deep and abiding commitment to prodding, pushing, pleading, and cajoling the world toward the right path - to preserve this earth and raise up those less fortunate. He was deep in the weeds of social change but saw clearly the way of faith. Albert was a father, a mentor, a companion, a teacher, a pastor and a friend. For many, he was all of these. Albert is also survived by 8 grandchildren in the US: Carolyne and Natalye Cohen; Alexi Grahm and Bria Corham; Jennifer Lathan, Bemnia Lathan, and Brozie Elijah Lathan; and Peter Cohen-Dobbins, and 6 surviving grandchildren in Brazil: Valdilene Heitele, Valdemir Luiz, Fabiano da Silva, Maybiane Feliciano, Douglas and Diego Carneiro. Albert was ever a purveyor of opportunistic advocacy, and in his spirit we include the following admonition: Pay attention to our earth and the people on it. Those in need are sometimes difficult to recognize.

If you wish to be notified of services, please email agcohen99@gmail.com. Donations in Al's memory may be made to: Greta Thunberg's movement Fridays for Future https://fridaysforfuture.org/ (Links to Climate Change organizations in yourarea/country) https://opencollective.com/fridaysforfuture-us (Link for the U.S.) Or Tree People 12601 Mulholland Dr Beverly Hills, CA 90210 https://www.treepeople.org/supportus

 

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Published in Los Angeles Times on Apr. 11, 2021.