Posted: Wed 9:37 AM, Oct 02, 2013
July 20, 1933 - September 30, 2013
Ruth G. Cohen, 80, of College Station, Texas passed away Monday, September 30, 2013, in St. Louis, Missouri. Graveside Services will be at 10 a.m., Thursday, October 3, 2013 at Agudas Achim Memorial Gardens 1727 Austin Hwy. San Antonio, Texas. Rabbis Samuel Stahl and Hazzan Jeremy Lipton will officiate.
Ruth was born on July 20, 1933, in San Antonio, Texas, to Frieda and Abe Goldberg. Abe had come to San Antonio as a young man and Frieda had been born and raised there. Growing up in Alamo Heights, Ruth was close to her sisters Evelyn and Shirley, developed a life- long love for reading, an intense dislike of geometry, and made friendships which lasted her entire life. It was as a teenager that Ruth met the love of her life, Aaron Cohen, when she was just 14 and he 16. She said the first time she met Aaron she thought he was 'smart, cute and Jewish'. Aaron felt the same, and the two married on February 7, 1953 in San Antonio. Their marriage was a true partnership that lasted until Aaron passed away in February, 2010. Ruth finished her college education at Trinity University during Aaron's service of duty. Following his return, they moved first to New Jersey and then to San Diego as Aaron pursued his engineering career and they started their family. Nancy and David were born in New Jersey and Daniel in San Diego. It was also during this time that it became clear Ruth would not be shy about giving Aaron her opinion on his career and the decisions he should make. One of her early opinions, that the microwave oven Aaron was working on would be of no practical use, was something the family liked to remind her of in later years. However, her strong encouragement of Aaron that he should pursue his dream to work on the newly formed national space program and take a job with NASA in Houston, turned out to be best advice Aaron could receive. As Aaron moved up the ranks at NASA, Ruth was right there with him. When Aaron was named Director of the Johnson Space Center, one of his close associates said we have not gotten just one great leader but two, since we also got Ruth. As Aaron worked long hours and traveled a lot, Ruth ran the household and was a wonderful loving mother to her three children. She went to swimming meets and tennis tournaments and saw that they did their homework, went to religious school (which was no easy task given that it was a good 45 minute ride each way from their home in Seabrook to the Temple in Galveston) and participated in school activities. Later she went back to work at of U of H CLC to help pay for her children's college and law school educations. Ruth passed on to her children her love of reading, the value of hard work, taking responsibility for one's own actions, frugality and her brand of politics. Some of her beliefs took hold better than others (she used to say to her children there was no reason to put the air conditioning on in the car as they drove to the tennis courts or cheerleading practice because they were about to get hot anyway – NOT a practice the next generation has maintained). It gave Ruth great satisfaction that her three children were happily married to wonderful spouses and she adored her 9 grandchildren. She was "Nonna" to her grandchildren and loved to communicate with them where ever they might be, sometimes around the world, by e-mail. She loved to go visit them at home and at school and be involved with them as they pursued their myriad of activities. To the very end she was emailing with each of them (pretty impressive for someone of her generation), knew what each of them was up to, was excited about their successes and willing to express her opinion on what they should be doing and the issues they faced. She and Aaron thought it very important that the grandchildren know just how special they were to them and develop a deep bond of family even though spread-out throughout the country, living in New York, Texas, Missouri and California. Ruth and Aaron organized family vacations trips for many years each December and special trips with each of their grandchildren (2 at a time) to London (Cara and Ariela and then later Rachel and Carolyn), Boston (Sammy and Brian) and on a cruise (Gabby and Natalie) – the most food was eaten on the trip with the two boys. Sadly Aaron passed away before they could go on a trip with Brooke. High on Nonna's bucket list was that Brooke should get her trip, and with the help of Brooke's older sister Rachel, she made that trip to Florida just last summer. Nonna was fiercely independent – planning Brooke's trip all on her own; in the Fall of 2012 Nonna traveled to Houston on many occasions to be with Daniel and Joan and their family and to celebrate significant NASA family events, in October she traveled to New York City to be with David and Miriam and their family, and last Thanksgiving, just weeks before being diagnosed with the illness that would take her from us, she was in St. Louis with Nancy and Sam and their family. Ruth was a very caring person to friends, neighbors, and relatives. She believed in fundamental kindness and fairness toward everyone. Ruth also had a great wit, a dry sense of humor, and direct and no nonsense way of making her view's well known. During a period Aaron was traveling a lot, the family got a new dog. The dog was not sure about Aaron when he finally got back home and so barked at him constantly. Finally Aaron asked Ruth to tell the dog that he was OK; without missing a beat, Ruth said "Aaron, he is nothing wonderful but he is OK". After Aaron retired form JSC, they moved to College Station where Aaron taught at his beloved Texas A&M and they took many wonderful trips together. Ruth loved her College Station neighbors and took great interest in maintaining the neighborhood. The neighbors there loved her as well and as things became difficult for first Aaron then Ruth, there was nothing they would not do for her- usually without even being asked. Family meant everything to Ruth.
She was preceded in death by her beloved Aaron, his sister Libbye Reich and husband Bill and sister Ann Birnbaum and husband Joe with whom many fond memories of time in San Antonio is shared, as well as her two brother-in-laws Izzy Tudzin and Edward Schwartz with whom she enjoyed a particularly close relationship, and her dear parents Frieda and Abe Goldberg and in-laws Ida and Charles Cohen.
Ruth is survived by her three children and spouses, Nancy and Sam Santana, Miriam and David Cohen and Joan and Daniel Cohen and her adored and adoring nine grandchildren, Cara and Sammy Santana, Ariela, Rachel, Gabi, and Brooke Cohen and Carolyn, Brian, and Natalie Cohen. She is also survived by her sister Shirley Tudzin and her children, Sally, Stanley and Lisa and their families, by her sister Evelyn Schwartz and her children, Alan, Jane, Stuart, and Elizabeth and their families, as well as many other cousins, nieces and nephews.
Pallbearers will be David Cohen, Daniel Cohen, Brian Cohen, Sam Santana, Sammy Santana and Mike Birnbaum.
For those wishing to make a donation in memory of Ruth, the family requests that memorial gifts be made to any public library or Hospice Organization of your choice or to the Aaron Cohen Memorial Scholarship Fund at Texas A&M University.
You are invited to sign the Guestbook at www.porterloring.com
Arrangements with Porter Loring Mortuary 1101 Mccullough Ave. San Antonio, Tx (800) 460-2704