Theodora (Teddy) Schwartz Cohen, 95, passed away peacefully in her sleep in the comfort of her home in Atlanta on Sept. 13.
Born and raised in the Bronx, N.Y., Teddy graduated from William Howard Taft High School and earned a BS degree from New York University in 1948. She worked in the Philadelphia and Chicago hospital systems as part of her clinical training to become a registered occupational therapist. Self-confident and independently minded, she moved in the early summer of 1949 to the Atlanta area for employment where she began work at Lawson VA Hospital as an occupational therapist for World War II veterans.
Within a few weeks of living in Atlanta, Teddy was encouraged to go on a blind date with Atlanta native Abner Cohen. Admired for her beauty and easy-going attitude, she was swept off her feet and engaged within six weeks. On Thanksgiving weekend of the same year, she married Abner L. Cohen in a ceremony officiated by Rabbi Jacob Rothschild at the Progressive Club.
Early in her marriage, Teddy readily transitioned from a working wife to a housewife to begin a family. Teddy, along with Abner, raised their children in a caring, supportive, and tolerant home environment. Teddy readily assimilated into Southern living and the Atlanta Jewish community with volunteer work in several organizations including B’nai B’rith and Brandeis University. She easily meshed with Abner’s brothers, in-laws, and cousins.
Family, friendships, recreation, and the arts were central to her life. Teddy and Abner developed an active social life of bowling, swimming, playing mahjong, bridge, and tennis with friends. With grace and enjoyment, she and Abner entertained many friends and relatives at their home. They loved traveling together, wintering in warmer climates, and had great adventures in Europe, Asia, and Africa.
After a breast cancer victory and a love-filled marriage of 60 years ending with her husband’s death, Teddy was able to retain most of her health barring a 20-year battle with Parkinson’s disease. Teddy continued her interests and friendships over the bridge and dinner tables of The Piedmont at Buckhead until the placement of COVID-19 socialization restrictions. For her private caregivers providing comfort and companionship, she expressed gratitude and daily humor, and was a great listener.
Teddy had the capacity to move forward in the face of adversity with strength and patience. She will be remembered by her children as a teacher by example rather than with words. Her reserved and collected composure provided a calm environment for raising a family and encouraging numerous close friendships that spanned many years in different geographic locations. She was quick witted, straight forward, and seldom without an opinion.
Teddy is survived by her devoted daughter, Jean; son, Charles (Chuck); son, Brad, and his wife, Judi; their son, Jordan; and her great-grandchildren, Sean, Ari, and Ally; as well as several nephews and nieces and other extended family members. Teddy was predeceased by her parents, Dr. Benjamin J., and Leah A. Schwartz; her older brother, Dr. Ira Schwartz; and her beloved husband, Abner L. Cohen in 2009.
Teddy’s expressed wishes were to be cremated without a funeral service. Later in 2022, at a private family celebration of her life, Teddy will be interred next to her husband and her parents in the Cohen Family Plot on Crest Lawn Memorial Park’s Cedar Hill in Atlanta.
For those who wish to honor Teddy’s memory with a donation the family suggests the Parkinson’s Foundation, Weinstein Hospice, or a charity of the donor’s choice. Expressions of sympathy for the Cohen family may be shared online at obituaries.neptunesociety.com/obituaries.
- Theodora (Teddy) Schwartz Cohen
- William Howard Taft High School
- New York University
- Lawson VA Hospital
- World War II
- Rabbi Jacob Rothschild
- Progressive Club
- B'nai Brith
- Brandeis University
- Parkinson's Disease
- The Piedmont
- Crest Lawn Memorial Park
- Parkinson’s Foundation
- Weinstein Hospice