Joan Simon Cohen of Farmington, CT, formerly of West Hartford, passed away peacefully in her sleep on the morning of August 22nd from a short illness at the age of 86. She was born in Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City to Madeline and Murray Simon and moved to West Hartford as a young girl. She attended Hall High School and Simmons College. She met Robert B. Cohen while he was a student at Dickinson College and they were married upon her graduation. Robert went on to study law at University of Pennsylvania and they moved there briefly. They moved back to West Hartford and there raised four children, Jan, Melissa, Gail and Larry. Joan leaves behind Melissa A. Cohen of Red Hook, NY, Gail A. Cohen of Sebastopal, CA, and Lawrence G. Cohen and his wife Amy of Weston, CT. She was predeceased by her daughter, Jan S. (Cohen) Stessman. She also leaves her grandchildren: Madeline and Emma Stessman, Caleb and Luc Stone, and Henry and Abby Cohen. Anyone that knew Joan quickly learned of her adjointness at crossword puzzles and Scrabble. She was happiest at the beach and throughout her life shared this with friends, her children and grandchildren. She was a cheerleader at her children’s sports and school events. She participated in the Sisterhood of Congregation Beth Israel in West Hartford where she volunteered in the gift shop and enjoyed curating their selections. Her love of theatre brought her to the Hartford Stage Company regularly and enjoyed the many theatrical productions she commissioned to perform at the Mandell Jewish Community Center. Joan worked there from 1979 to her retirement in 2005. Prior to working at the JCC as the Gallery Director, Joan was active as a volunteer there on the Ann Randall Arts Committee. In her tenure as Director she had the privilege of participating in the design process of the new Chase Family Gallery (1990); and helped secure a large commission for her friend Elbert Weinberg on the front grounds of the Center. Because the space offered new opportunities for exhibits, she curated and exhibited hundreds of shows where she met many known and unknown artists and supported local artists. The family will be holding a private memorial in accordance with her wishes. Donations can be made in her honor to the Mandell Jewish Community Center.
Donations can be made in her honor to the Mandell Jewish Community Center.