Suzanne F. Cohen, a renowned philanthropist, Jewish communal leader and patron of the arts died on Nov. 19 of cancer. She was 83.
“Sue was a dedicated and passionate leader to The Associated for decades, said Marc B. Terrill, President of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore. “Her wisdom, deep concern and passion for enhancing the entire Baltimore community were truly legendary. Not only was Sue an irreplaceable leader, she and her late husband Nathan, were generous and committed philanthropists enhancing numerous organizations in our community and leaving lasting legacies through many innovative philanthropic initiatives. Sue was a mentor and a friend to many and her legacy and memory will last through those lucky enough to know her. She will forever carry the crown of a good name.”
Born in Maryland on April 10, 1935, Cohen was the daughter of the late Florence and Paul J. Fineman. She attended Goucher College, earning a BA with special honors in English. She married Nathan L. Cohen, who served as vice president and director of the Pimlico Race Course until his death in 1988. The couple had two daughters, Janet and Nancy.
Cohen was president of the Nathan & Suzanne Cohen Foundation. She also served as chair of The Associated from 1989-1991 and was a life trustee of the organization. A past chair and honorary trustee of the Baltimore Museum of Art, one of Cohen’s proudest philanthropic achievements came in 2006, when she donated $1 million to the BMA to establish an endowment to ensure free admission to the museum.
In a joint statement, Christopher Bedford, BMA Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director and Clair Zamoiski Segal, BMA Board Chair wrote: “Suzanne Cohen made an indelible impact on The Baltimore Museum of Art through decades of leadership as a past board chair, trustee, and honorary trustee. Baltimore has benefited greatly from her generous support for free museum admission, her enthusiasm for contemporary art, and passion for social justice. This is a devastating loss for our board and staff. We will miss Sue enormously; she was truly an inspiration to us all.”
Other recipients of Cohen’s generosity include the Suzanne F. Cohen ’52 International Scholars Program at Goucher College; Johns Hopkins University’s Internships in Brain Sciences and the Nathan L. Cohen Neurology Lectureship; the Baltimore Community Foundation’s “A-Teams”; and the Open Society Institute’s Community Fellowships. A Chizuk Amuno Congregation member, Cohen was also a supporter of Hand-in-Hand, a program that fostered relationships between Arab and Israeli schools and communities.
By virtue of her leadership skills and philanthropic endeavors, Cohen has been honored by countless organizations. In 1999, she was named Philanthropist of the Year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals; she received the Enoch Pratt Free Library Distinguished Benefactor Award in 2000; was inducted into the Jewish Community Center Jewish Hall of Fame in 2013; and has been named one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women by The Daily Record Circle of Excellence three times. Other honors include receipt of Goucher College’s Distinguished Alumnae and Women of Distinction awards in 2015.
Cohen is survived by her daughters Janet Cohen (Daniel Kramarsky), Nancy Cohen (Jonathan Parfrey), her brother Howard Fineman (Janice), grandchildren Jordan Kramarsky, Zan Nathan Kramarsky, Helena Cohen Candaele and Camille Rosa Candaele.
Funeral services for Cohen will be held on Nov. 21 at Sol Levinson & Bros., 8900 Reisterstown Road in Pikesville at 1:30 p.m. Interment will take place at Arlington Cemetery of Chizuk Amuno Congregation, 4300 N. Rogers Ave.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to the charity of your choice or the Baltimore Museum of Art, Cohen Family Fund for Free Admission, 10 Art Museum Drive, Baltimore, Md., 21218.
This story has been updated.