My father, Ralph David Cohen, passed away Tuesday, succumbing to Covid-19. He went peacefully, never complained, and he was in no pain. The last full sentence he said was, "please call my wife for me." We had not told Dad that Betty Rae was gone. It seemed too much to bear. He and Betty Rae were such a happy couple who did everything together. They enjoyed a long retirement, spending summers and winters in their condo at La Costa Spa in Carlsbad, California. Years before that were spent at the beach in their condo in South Padre Island.
My father was born in Chicago, during the great depression. He went to college and with no money to join a fraternity he worked there instead, serving meals to the brothers. He joined the Navy Air Corp and met my mother - the natural comedienne Sonia. After a few childless years they adopted my older brother and me! Over the years he forgot I was adopted and once I asked him about it and he repeated the same story I was told as a child. I knew that fantastical story wasn't true but let it go. You didn't pick your "perfect baby" out of a line of bassinets at Edna Gladney.
My parents were very happy and my mother, a lively red head, kept my father on his toes. It was a house filled with much laughter and love. When she died, my father was incredibly sad and depressed. He missed her fabulous cooking and the long, physical jokes she excelled at. When his partner offered to introduce him to a widow, he leapt at a chance at happiness. I was thrilled to gain two sisters. The elegant, chic Betty Rae was a blessing for him. She made him happy and fulfilled and together they built a second act in life. They were constantly in motion. With a large circle of friends, they frequently were entertained at dinners for which they reciprocated with a large dinner party every few years. Milestone birthdays called for more dinner parties at fancy restaurants.
When not out eating, they were at plays, the Symphony, and at movies. Up until the Covid, he and Betty Rae spent every Saturday night out at the movies. They ate out dinner each night, mostly going to the same faithful restaurants they loved so much. All holidays and birthdays were spent with family.
My father was an early health nut, he exercised at Presidents, the first health club for men in Houston. He was a workaholic and when he retired, he turned his attentions to the stock market. He bought a few shares of Apple Stock when it was first available, something he was quite proud of. LOL He was a huge admirer of Steve Jobs and couldn't stand it that I was a PC user. He bought me an Apple computer to change my ways, but I could never get used to it. He loved technology and bought me my first VCR. Decades ago, he gifted me with a color printer! And decades before that, I was given the first Barbie Doll on my block. When I ruined her blonde pony tail, he bought me a new head - the red hair short bubble, probably attracted to the red hair like my mother!
I admired my father and always sought out his advice of which he was more than willing to give. He loved to lecture me and later Elisabeth and everyone else in the family from grandkids to nieces and nephews. He adored Ben and I always joked he loved Ben more than me. He loved to talk. When he was 92, a UTI caused brain damage and he was mostly mute afterwards, although if you tried, you could understand a few sentences here and there. He was left extremely frustrated that he could no longer express himself. He worked hard at rehab for two years trying to get his speech back, but it never returned to normal. He was strong and a fighter to the end. When he turned 90 he said he was still on this earth not because of anything he had done, but just for sheer luck. My dad was one of a kind. I will miss you Dad.
His and Betty Rae’s obituaries can be found here https://www.jewishfuneralsusa.com/ and please read more about my dad at a story I wrote on his 90th birthday https://cotedetexas.blogspot.com/2013/10/a-family-birthday.html
Houston is under attack from Covid. I caught it from visiting with my father. My sister and brother in law are now recovering from it. Please be careful, wear a mask, and get the vaccine as soon as you can. In light of this, I wish a healthy and happy New Years for you all.