Baruch Dayan Emet – Dr. Richard (Dick) J. Cohen

Dr. Richard Cohen.jpg

It is with our deepest sorrow that we inform you of the death of beloved congregant and former CBS Board member, Dr. Richard (Dick) J. Cohen, who died on Tuesday, December 25 (18 Tevet 5779) at the age of 82.

Dick was a proud native of Brooklyn, New York and graduated from James Madison High School and Columbia College. He earned his medical degree from the State University of New York’s Downstate Medical Center in 1961. 

Following an internship at Walter Reed General Hospital in Washington, D.C, Dick moved to San Francisco in 1962 for a residency in Internal Medicine and subspecialty training in both Hematology and Medical Oncology at Letterman General Hospital and at UCSF. 

Upon completion of training in 1965, Dick was sent to Vietnam where he served for 12 months as Chief of Medicine at the 17th Field Hospital in Saigon. For service against hostile forces, Dick was awarded the Bronze star and Commendation medals before returning to Walter Reed and continuing his specialty training. He became Board Certified in both Medical Specialties and Internal Medicine, becoming a Fellow of the American College of Medicine in 1965.

In 1967, Dick was invited to return to San Francisco to join a consultative practice as well as active teaching at UCSF, Children’s Hospital, Mt. Zion Medical Center, and California Pacific Medical Center, enjoying his active practice in all three medical specialties until his retirement in 2011. Dick was renowned especially as a teacher to his peers and to generations of residents and Fellows in training. A highlight of Dick's teaching was his delivery of the Sherlock Holmes lecture every December where, dressed in frock coat and deerstalker hat, he taught the art of deductive reasoning. Having received numerous awards in teaching over the years, Dick was pleased to be awarded the Charlotte Baer award in 2005, the highest honor that can be bestowed by UCSF on a member of the Clinical Faculty. 

Dick's many hobbies included collecting fountain pens (to make up for having never received one at his Bar Mitzvah), bow ties and wine. With his wife of 59 years, Dr. Sandra Cohen, he was a regular attendee at both opera and ballet.

Having grown up in Brooklyn as a devoted fan of the Dodgers, he transferred his baseball allegiance to the SF Giants and was invited to serve as a ”Balldude” in 2004, working many games a year, wearing his full uniform emblazoned with “Doctor C #18", which translates as Chai in Hebrew, the word for “Life.”  In retirement, Dick also enjoyed his courses at the Fromm Institute at USF as well as the many friendships made there.

The love of his life was his wife Sandra, whom he met during his senior year at Columbia while she was attending Barnard College. Sandra later earned her PhD degree at UC Berkeley and began her career as a practicing psychologist in San Francisco. In addition to his wife, Sandra, Dick's survivors include his son, Aaron, of Berkeley, daughter and son-in-law, Eve and Keith Cohen-Porter of Denver, Colorado, and adored granddaughters, Thea and Bailey Cohen-Porter.

DATE: Friday, December 28
TIME: 11 a.m.
PLACE: Sinai Memorial Chapel at 1501 Divisadero Street in San Francisco.
Burial will follow at Home of Peace cemetery at 1299 El Camino Real in Daly City.

Shiva lunch following the burial at 2 p.m. at 1926 8th Avenue, San Francisco.

Shiva visitors are welcome Sunday and Monday afternoons at the family home. Contact for address.

Contributions in his memory may be directed to Congregation Beth Sholom.

Zichrono l'vracha – may his memory be a blessing!