My dad, Louis Cohen, passed away today. He was the perfect dad, role-model, and the definition of a gentleman. He taught my brother and I to praise people when they were alive. He hated when someone died and people said that that person was wonderful. He would say, “Give them the roses when they can smell them.” My brother and I had the opportunity to tell my dad that we loved him many times but I want to take one last time to tell you about this amazing person.
My dad’s greatest joy in life was to make people laugh. Nothing made him happier.
He also taught us some basic, simple rules for success in life.
- Always respect a person until he or she gives you a reason not to.
- Business and life is all about people.
- Going to a church or synagogue doesn’t make you a good person. It’s how you act and treat others every day of your life.
- It’s better to laugh at your mistakes instead of getting angry and taking it out on others.
- Laugh, and the world laughs with you. Cry, and you cry alone.
- Let the world laugh with you, not at you.
My dad lived till 87. He told my brother and I that he had a good life and had no regrets. We’re proud of that; how many people believe that about their own lives?
Two years ago when my dad was 85 we were watching a special about World War II. Out of the blue, he told me that he was awarded a Purple Heart in World War II. In the 53 years that I had known him, he never mentioned that to my brother or I. I asked him if I could see it. He casually said that he refused it. He had a shrapnel wound and in front of him were soldiers who had lost arms and legs. He said compared to their wounds he didn’t think he deserved it so he quietly walked away and never accepted his Purple Heart.
Luck was on his side twice. At a point during World War II, my dad usually had day guard duty. He returned to his bunker one morning after being switched to night duty. He found a piece of mortar in his bunk. He then realized it was his 21st birthday. He saw it as a sign that he would survive World War II.
My dad was a friend of the boxer, Rocky Marciano during the war. He would help Rocky write letters to his girlfriend back home. After the war, my dad met Rock’y girlfriend. She said that she felt like she knew my dad. Rocky and my dad, a bit red-faced, just smiled.
My dad loved the tech side of show business. After the war, he had an opportunity to travel with a summer stock theater company running lights. As much as he wanted to go, he turned down the offer because he thought his parents would worry too much if he were travelling across the country.
Luck found my father again after the war. He was working for Monogram Pictures whose main star was Buck Jones. One Saturday night, the company was having a party to honor Mr. Jones. My dad worked every other weekend and it just happened that he was off that weekend so he decided not to take the 3-mile bus ride from his home to the night club. He never cared much about parties. The party was at the Coconut Grove in Boston. A fire ravaged the night club that night killing hundreds of people.
My dad had no regrets in his life. My brother and I never regretted being his sons. He loved his life and we loved having him as a dad.
Rest in peace dad.