Dr. Irvin Cohen Jr., 87

PORTLAND — Dr. Irvin Cohen Jr., 87, passed away on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017, at the Maine Veterans’ Home in Scarborough from complications of pneumonia and Parkinson’s disease. He is sorely missed by his family and friends.

Irv was born and raised in Trenton, N.J. He graduated from the Lawrenceville School in 1948, and from Princeton University in 1952 (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa). He enlisted in the Army Counterintelligence Corps near the end of the Korean War and studied German at the Army Language School. He deployed to Germany, where he perfected his German and started a lifelong hobby of speaking German and maintaining lifelong friendships with people he met while there.

After the Army, Irv found his true vocation and completed his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Teachers’ College, Columbia University in 1962, followed by a postdoctoral year at the University of Wisconsin Medical School. Later, he worked in Trenton and Philadelphia before moving to Maine in 1966 to join Maine Medical Center’s Child Psychiatry Unit. Irv then started a private therapy and consulting practice, one of the first full-time practices in Maine, and retired in 2008. He focused on child and family therapy and in later years concentrated on stress management and adult Gestalt therapy.

He also served as president of the Maine Psychological Association and was a member of the Psychology Board of Examiners. Irv’s book, The Ever Evolving Therapist, was published in 1998, and is a very personal work about his approach to therapy. He loved his work and cared deeply about his patients.

Irv met Jacki Fishbein at Trails’ End Camp in Pennsylvania, where they were both counselors. After a three-year, long-distance courtship, they married in 1960 and settled in Portland in 1966. It was “the end of the trail” for both of them, and they recently celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary. Son Jim arrived in 1965, and daughter Halley in 1967.

Irv had a lifelong love of running starting in the 1940s, only hanging up his running shoes at age 77 due to the effects of Parkinson’s. He started running on Portland’s Baxter Boulevard in the 1960s before there was a path, calling himself “the first jogger” because so few others were running at that time. Exercise was a major passion, and he encouraged the family in these pursuits, including tennis, cross-country skiing (particularly the ups rather than the downs!), swimming and hiking.

The family had a house on Hancock Pond, Denmark since 1968. Irv loved spending time with family and exercising “at the lake.” He played piano and loved jazz, particularly Dixieland jazz. He also loved foreign travel and, in later life, traveled extensively with Jacki. Above all, Irv had a quick wit and enjoyed puns — the more groans, the better.

Irv was predeceased by his parents, Edith Levin and Irvin Cohen Sr.; and sister, Natalie Werksman.

He is survived by his wife Jacki; son James Cohen of Portland; daughter Halley Cohen of Oxford, England; and four grandchildren.

Instead of flowers, please consider donating to the: Maine Parkinson Society (www.maineparkinsonsociety.org), 359 Perry Road, Bangor, ME 04401.

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