Emma Berman Cohn

Date of Death: 1/18/2015

Emma Berman Cohn

January 19, 1913-January 18, 2015

Emma Berman Cohn died on January 18, one day short of her 102nd birthday.  She was born in Houtzdale, PA, where her parents Abraham and Sylvia Berman first lived after immigrating to this country from eastern Europe at the beginning of the 20th century.  They soon moved to Altoona where Abe Berman opened a jewelry store and optician shop on 11th Avenue and where they raised Emma and her younger siblings, Florence Berman Karp, Belle Berman Gartenberg, Arnold Berman, and Birdie Berman Schulman.    In 1938 Emma married Hillis Cohn, also of Altoona, who died in 2000.  They raised four children—Tela Cohn Zasloff, Burton Cohn, Howard Cohn, and Marilyn Cohn Posner—and are survived by 13 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.

Emma always considered her family her greatest accomplishment but she was also remarkable in other ways.  She was known among all who knew her for her intelligence (she graduated Altoona High as salutatorian of her class), her graciousness to others and elegance of manner, her serious attention to how she dressed and spoke (she was a champion debater on the Altoona High team).  She loved playing with words and composing new lyrics to familiar melodies for family celebrations.  A very organized person, she was concerned throughout her life with walking every afternoon, breathing good air and enjoying nature, no matter what the season or weather.  She considered her frequent correspondence with friends and family a serious matter and until she could no longer hold a pen steadily (at about age 95) she became known in the family for the individual and personal way she wrote her notes, how she spoke and listened with genuine interest to adults and children, and how much time she took to select just the right card and gift for each person.  She was an accomplished pianist, awarded a scholarship to St. Louis Institute of Music where she studied and taught for seven years from 1930-1937.  She taught piano when she returned home to Altoona, including to her own children, and until her mid-90’s, still played her favorite Chopin Scherzo with sensitivity.

Friends will be received from 10:30am until a funeral service at 11:30am Friday, January 23, 2015 at E. Merrill Smith Funeral Home, Inc. 2309 Broad Avenue, Altoona, PA 16601 with Rabbi Audrey Korotkin of Temple Beth Israel officiating.  The family request that memorial contributions in honor of Emma be made to Att: Ellen Gordon, Aviv Centers for Living, 240 Lynnfield Street, Peabody, MA 01960 or at their website at info@avivliving.org.



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