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Marvin H Cohen

August 12, 1927 December 10, 2020
Marvin H Cohen
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Obituary for Marvin H Cohen

August 12, 1927 – December 10, 2020
Middletown, NY

Marvin H Cohen, age 93, passed away peacefully at home on hospice care after a brief illness. He was a proud life-long Middletown resident born at Thrall Hospital adjacent to Thrall Park on Grove Street. He grew up nearby on Lincoln Street and Wilkin Avenue and for the past 65 years at 29 Ingalls Street and 140 Highland Avenue. Marv graduated from Middletown High School in 1945. He enjoyed class Reunions with his very active class. He joined the Boy Scouts before WWII where he attained the rank of Life Scout. Marv was the youngest scout on an epic 1942 trip to Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico.
Marv was a World War II era veteran joining the Army in 1945. He was stationed at Fort Dix and then volunteered for overseas duty in the 8th Army Occupation Forces in Yokohama Japan in 1946-47. Returning home, he graduated from the Middletown Collegiate Center held at night at MHS in 1949 (predecessor to OCCC & SUNY Orange). He worked at the family firm of Barney’s Super Oil Service, later serving as President until the firm was sold in 1976.
Marv was the consummate volunteer leader for 80 years. After serving in the Boy Scouts and US Army, he was active in the Middletown Jaycees and joined the Monhagen Hose Co #1 in 1951. He served in officer command roles including Captain for the 100th Anniversary of the Fire Dept in 1959. He was an active volunteer fireman for over 30 years. He is a Past President and served for decades as Recording Secretary and Historian plus co-led two New Truck Committees. He led the restoration of the Monhagen’s 1923 and 1943 fire trucks and cared for them for over 50 years. As a respected author, he wrote history books of the Monhagen’s’ 100th and 125th anniversaries and of the entire fire department for their 150th anniversary in 2009. In recognition of his extraordinary service, he was named “Mr. Monhagen”.
He co-founded the Orange County Fire Museum in Montgomery, NY . Marv donated hundreds of artifacts and served as the first curator. He published several fire books under his firm, The Engine House. He was a collector of antique fire trucks and served for 18 years in the leadership team of the national fire apparatus organization, SPAAMFAA. He was a founder of the Catskill Fire Cats Chapter and received many trophies and awards.
Growing up in a railroad city, Marv was captivated by trains. In the early 1960s, he joined the Ontario &Western Railway Historical Society where his donations are the core of their archives. When the number 103 steam locomotive arrived in Middletown in 1962, he served as Conductor on the steam excursions to Slate Hill through 1966. Marv created the directory to tourist railroads for North America that continues to be published today 55 years later by Kalmbach. He was the editor for the first 24 annual books which were printed by Prior King Press and shipped throughout the world. He also helped his friend, Steve Bogen with his firm, Quadrant Press to publish early railroad books 50 years ago. His pioneering efforts were recognized as critical to the success of the heritage railway industry.
Marv served for 17 years as President and Curator of the Historical Society of Middletown & Wallkill. He wrote several histories of Middletown as well as two popular Arcadia photo books plus many newspaper articles. He often gave lectures on local history. In doing so, he followed in the footsteps of his mentor and good friend, Charles (Rad) Radzinsky. In recognition of Marv’s accomplishments, he received the Dewitt Clinton award from Hoffman Lodge in 2011.
Marv enjoyed reading books and magazines and had a huge library focused on all modes of transportation, the fire service as well as history. He enjoyed traveling and visited all 50 states, most Canadian provinces and six continents. He loved to drive and was a great driver even at age 93. He loved commercial trucks, especially the Mack B-61. He enjoyed his independence and the family thanks his care-giver and friend, Gertrude Conklin, who helped him remain living in his home.
Marvin is predeceased by his parents, Alice Plotkin and Barney Cohen, by his beloved wife of 63 years, Genevieve, his daughter, Susan of Clearwater, FL, his sister, Beverly Smith of Cathedral City, CA and son-in-law, Jim Davis of Wenham, MA. He is survived by Steven Cohen (Cindy) of Ardentown, DE, Sandra Weaver (Jon) of Rockport, MA , Sherri Davis of Essex, MA along with eight grandchildren: Nicholas Cohen (Renée) of Chadds Ford, PA, Benjamin Cohen (Susan) of Greenville, DE, Grant Weaver of Rockport, MA, Hope Weaver of Nashville, TN, Emma Davis of Tokyo, Japan, Audrey Davis of Waltham, MA, Clara Davis of Essex, MA and Joseph Chabowski (Crystal) of Saugerties, NY plus three great grandchildren: Jacques and Julienne Cohen of Chadds Ford, PA and Elizabeth Chabowski of Saugerties, NY.
A Memorial Service & Celebration of Life will be held at Applebee-McPhillips Funeral Home, when it is safe to do so in Summer, 2021. Donations in his name can be made to the Historical Society of Middletown &Wallkill Precinct, PO Box 34, Middletown, NY 10940.

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Memorial Contribution

Historical Society of Middletown & Wallkill Precinct

PO Box 34
Middletown, New York 10940

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