Stanley S. Cohen, 84, of Philadelphia, retired managing partner at the Fox Rothschild law firm, past president at Har Zion Temple, volunteer, and mentor, died Tuesday, Sept. 19, of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis at his home.
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Born in Philadelphia and a graduate of West Philadelphia High School and Temple University Law School, now the Beasley School of Law, Mr. Cohen spent more than 50 years at Fox Rothschild as an associate attorney, chair of the real estate department, managing partner, senior counsel, and in other leadership roles. He stepped down as managing partner about 13 years ago but continued to consult and work on special projects until recently.
Mr. Cohen was known at work for growing the firm, mentoring young lawyers, promoting the careers of colleagues, and knowing the names and stories of practically everyone he encountered. He was an engaging conversationalist who was more interested in learning about you than talking about himself.
He was, a former colleague said in an online tribute, “the most beloved lawyer” at the firm. Another former colleague said working with Mr. Cohen “was the best experience of my career.” Another said: “He embodied the lawyer’s creed of being hard on issues but soft on people.”
Mr. Cohen was a tireless volunteer and admired president at Har Zion in Penn Valley and the Auerbach Central Agency for Jewish Education. “He was a mensch of the highest degree,” a colleague at Har Zion said.
Gov. Tom Ridge appointed him as the only man on the Pennsylvania State Commission for Women in the late 1990s, and he sat on the board of what became the state’s Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority.
But it was never about him, family and friends said. He used what they called his “quiet power” to enhance the contributions of others.
He served on the Pennsylvania Economic Development Financing Authority and was vice chair of the board for the Community College of Philadelphia Foundation. He served on the board of trustees at the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and on boards at the Merion Civic Association and Green Tree School.
He volunteered his services for HIAS, Community College of Philadelphia, and the Volunteer Lawyers for Action Program. He was also a yeoman for the Coast Guard Reserves and active with the Jewish Federation’s Young Men’s Service Committee and Conservative Movement of Judaism.
A lifelong learner, he even audited classes at the University of Pennsylvania. “Education is part of my routine, and I hope it always will be,” he told the Jewish Exponent in 2010. “You have to work it into your life and make it part of your life.”
The youngest of three children, Stanley Seymour Cohen was born June 11, 1939. He was a standout student, loved sports, and served as the manager for several teams in junior high and high school. He studied prelaw at Temple and earned a bachelor’s degree in 1960, and his law degree in 1963.
“I knew law, but I wanted more in the way of general, liberal education.”
Stanley Cohen on why he audited classes at Penn.
He met Lita Indzel on a blind date in 1964, and they married in 1966, and had son Reuven and daughter Shoshana. They lived in Wynnefield Heights and then Lower Merion for more than four decades before moving to Philadelphia in 2015.
Mr. Cohen liked to putter around in his garden, boat, and fish. He took his family on motor-home trips, vacationed at Long Beach Island, read often about history, and followed the Eagles, Phillies, and Temple sports.
He played golf and the ukulele, and especially liked to read to and play with his four grandchildren. “He taught me to stand up for myself and the importance of being honest and a good person,” his daughter said. His son said: “He was my heart.”
Mr. Cohen often surprised his wife with flowers and little presents for no reason, and he greeted her at the airport one time with a “Welcome Home” sign and balloons. He was an adviser and partner in her professional pursuits.
Everyone who knew him, his family said, “gained profoundly from his gentleness, kindness, acute sense of humor, warmth, patience, intellectualism, diligence, and grace.” His wife said: “He was honest, ethical, and moral. He was a loving, caring, and warm soul.”
In addition to his wife, children, and grandchildren, Mr. Cohen is survived by a sister and other relatives. A sister died earlier.
Services were held Sept. 21.
Donations in his name may be made to Har Zion Temple, 1500 Hagys Ford Rd., Penn Valley, Pa. 19072; Planned Parenthood of Philadelphia, 1144 Locust St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19107; and Emily’s Entourage, P.O. Box 71, Merion, Pa. 19066.