WiRED Mourns the Loss of Faye F. Cohen

BY ALLISON KOZICHAROW; EDITED BY BERNICE BORN

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Health workers using the Faye and Sheldon Cohen Community Health Education Center to study
infectious diseases and chronic illnesses.

iRED International’s board and volunteers are deeply saddened by the death of Faye F. Cohen on April 10, 2018.

 

A local and national political activist and community organizer, Mrs. Cohen was married to WiRED board member Sheldon S. Cohen, Esq., for 67 years. All their lives, the Cohens have responded without hesitation to those in want by simply asking, “What do you need?” Together the Cohens energized WiRED for nearly 20 years in many ways from hosting annual Board meetings at their home to supporting WiRED projects in underserved communities around the world.

 

Mrs. Cohen said, “I come from a family of first generation Americans. I was taught to give back, always give back more than you receive. My first venture into health care came at age 14 when I volunteered at The Johns Hopkins Hospital during War World II. Volunteering is easy — you just do it.”

 

In 2011 WiRED dedicated the Faye F. and Sheldon S. Cohen Community Health Education Center in Kisumu, Kenya. This naming honored the Cohens for their lifelong dedication to helping the poor, their concern for global health and their interest in projecting a positive American image abroad.

 

As for their involvement with WiRED, Mrs. Cohen explained: “Sheldon and I connected with the concept of WiRED instantly. Although we will never get to visit the Center in Kisumu, we will adopt and support it.”

 


A teacher at the Cohen Center explains hand washing to
a group of school children using a WiRED module.

Soon after the Center opened, Mrs. Cohen worked with Sr. Bernadette Nealon (who operates the Center) to set up the “Sunshine Fund,” also known as the “Mitzvah Fund.” Each year, Mrs. Cohen sent money to Sr. Bernadette for the fund. Mrs. Cohen would ask Sr. Bernadette to spend the money on small incidentals that help the poorest people in greatest need. These supplements included money for medications, food for hungry children and rides to a hospital for ill people who would otherwise have to walk. Mrs. Cohen and Sr. Bernadette never met, but they got to know each other long distance.

 

WiRED Director Gary Selnow, Ph.D., said, “Faye had been a good friend and coach. She was intensely interested in the people WiRED serves and would ask about them always. Faye loved to tell stories, and she loved to hear stories about our staff and the people using our training centers. I’ll miss her very much, and I’ll miss our exchange of stories.”

 

Mrs. Cohen is survived by her husband; her children Melinda, Laura, Jonathan and Sharon and their spouses; and 10 grandchildren.

 

 


Tribute to Faye Cohen

 

Sr. Bernadette Nealon is a Franciscan nun who left Ireland in 1998 to serve critically disadvantaged communities in Kisumu, Kenya. Since 2002 she has partnered with WiRED and directed its health education centers there, including the Faye F. and Sheldon S. Cohen Center. Sr. Bernadette sent the following message in memory of Faye.

 

What sad news. I know that Faye is in heaven. She was a wonderful person, so good to the poor. She will always be remembered for her care and concern and her generosity to the poor. When I think of Faye, I think of the transformation she made in the lives of children, youth and vulnerable people. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family members. May God bless each one of them. She will be remembered by Center staff gathering for prayers. We have lost a good friend, but her name will live on in our hearts.
— Sr. Bernadette

 

 

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