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1964 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
May 28, 1964 - February 11, 2018 EDMOND Nancy Ellen Cohen, 53, passed away peacefully on Feb. 11, 2018, surrounded by her loving family. Nancy was special in every way a person can be. She was kind, loving, funny, gentle, and compassionate, and everyone who met her was enhanced by the experience. Nancy truly loved her life and everyone in it. When she was born on May 28, 1964, with Down syndrome and a serious heart defect, Nancy's parents were told that she would live no longer than six or seven years. That we were blessed to have her with us for over 53 years is a testament to the loving care she received from so many people along the way. At the top of that list, of course, are Nancy's parents, Dorothy and the late Albert Cohen, who loved her unconditionally and never wavered in pursuing every opportunity for her to learn and flourish. They enrolled her in the best programs available throughout her life, culminating in the almost 25 years Nancy spent at the Nova Centre in Edmond, OK. Nancy was so much more than her physical and developmental challenges. She loved to dance. She took ballet classes in her early teen years, but her real love was dancing at parties. She never lacked for dance partners at family celebrations, with nephews, cousins, other relatives, and friends clamoring to dance with her. Nancy also thoroughly enjoyed the many parties put on by the Nova Centre. She was very into music, especially the early works of Donny and Marie Osmond. For her 50th birthday, Nancy's family threw her a Donny and Marie themed party, complete with life-sized cutouts of the duo. Nancy idolized Carol Burnett and spent much of her free time watching DVDs from "The Carol Burnett Show." In her younger years, Nancy participated in the Special Olympics, winning a blue ribbon for one of her art pieces. (Foot races, in contrast, were not her best events; as her father once joked, "In the 50-yard dash Nancy came in fifth — out of three!") Nancy was remarkably adept at doing jigsaw puzzles, many with more than 500 pieces. She tolerated sweetly and patiently those of us who joined in but were considerably less talented. When coloring books for adults became popular, Nancy helped form a coloring club at Nova Centre. She also enjoyed doing needlepoint and latch hook. Nancy loved the color purple. Nancy's favorite activities by far were her frequent visits to her parents and sisters in Oklahoma City and Houston, especially when her niece and nephews were there. She enjoyed shopping, movies, and getting decorative manicures. She also enjoyed attending services and events at Emanuel Synagogue. Nancy was an excellent cook who took great delight in cooking with her sister Karen, particularly for special occasions such as Thanksgiving and Passover. One of her young great-nephews says that Nancy made "the best matzo balls in the world." We believe the secret ingredients in every dish Nancy made were the love and joy with which she made them. Nancy's family would like to express our sincere appreciation to the many people whose love and care enhanced and prolonged her life. Nancy's pediatric cardiologist, Dr. Kent Ward, continued to treat Nancy even after her "pediatric" years and was of tremendous help to us through her final days. We consider Dr. Ward a beloved member of our family. Many thanks also to Martha Sanders and to Molly Randel and her staff at the Nova Centre for all of the tender loving care they gave Nancy (and us) throughout the years, as well as to everyone at The Trails workshop, where Nancy worked. Our thanks also to the many teachers and medical professionals who have helped Nancy flourish along the way. There are not enough words to thank all of the friends and relatives who have loved and supported Nancy and our family throughout her lifetime. A special "thank-you" to Elaine and Albert Weise, who have loved Nancy as though she were their own; to Michael Pone, who was Nancy's special "buddy," and to Rabbi Abby Jacobson, whose support and guidance have helped make the unbearable a little more bearable. Nancy was preceded in death by her father, Albert Cohen; and by her brother, Brian Cohen. She is survived by her devoted mother, Dorothy Cohen; sisters, Karen Buchine-Cohen and Donna Cohen; brother-in-law, Mitch Sirotkin; aunts, Arlene Kamer ("Auntie-Poo") and Norma Steinberg; nephews, niece, and great-nephews, Sam Sirotkin and Brent, Heather, Nathan, and Ryan Buchine; Aron, Kara, Aleeza, and Avi Schneider; and numerous cousins and friends. Funeral services for Nancy were held at the Emanuel Synagogue in Oklahoma City on Tuesday, Feb. 13, followed by burial at Emanuel Hebrew Cemetery, all beautifully officiated by Rabbi Abby Jacobson. Donations in memory of Nancy may be made to the Edmond Association for Retarded Citizens (EARC), P.O. Box 268, Edmond, OK 73083 (please put "Memorial for Nancy Cohen" on the memo line); to Emanuel Synagogue, 900 NW 47th St, Oklahoma City, OK 73118; to Congregation Beth Yeshurun, 4525 Beechnut St, Houston, TX 77096; or to the . As Rabbi Jacobson so eloquently eulogized Nancy: "We can honor Nancy's memory by remembering her the next time we meet someone with a disability and knowing that we can expect great things from that person. We can honor her by following her examples of love and gratitude, by remembering her strength in the face of physical discomfort. If you ever met Nancy — no matter how briefly — she thought you were kind, generous, and respectful, and that you occupied an important place in the world. You can honor her memory by trying to be the person that Nancy thinks you are."
Published in The Oklahoman from Feb. 13 to Feb. 18, 2018
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