Harry Andrew Cohen

by | Apr 7, 2014 | Obituaries

Norfolk —Harry Andrew Cohen, born April 27, 1925 in Norfolk to the late Joseph and Sarah Cohen, died on March 25 after a short illness. A beloved husband, father, grandfather, uncle and friend, he passed away at his home on Granby Street with his family by his side.

Known to many in his hometown as “Brother Cohen,” Harry was a fixture in downtown Norfolk as the owner of Quality Furniture, which operated first on Church Street and then on Granby Street for 40 years until its closing in March 2013. A tireless and creative businessman, “Mr. Harry,” as he was also called, cared deeply for his loyal customers who depended on him for appliances, bedding, home furnishings, watches, jewelry and a friendly smile.

Harry had a knack for retail at an early age, working as a clerk at Lord and Taylor in New York City, where he lived with his stepbrothers and sisters for two years as a teenager. In the Navy during World War II , he volunteered to run the ship’s store on the USS Randolph, which allowed the meticulous sailor 24-hour access to the laundry so he could keep his own uniforms constantly cleaned and pressed. He would continue to be a flashy yet elegant dresser, and dancer, well into his later years.

Harry was a cheerful presence in any setting. At Temple Israel in Norfolk, he acted in shows and called bingo. He enjoyed cooking and baking, making many fans with his delicious mandel bread. His greatest love though was his family, particularly his wife Susan or “Miss Sue,” whom he adored and cherished for 57 years. Together as true life partners, they operated Quality Furniture as a strong team and raised three children in the Wards Corner area where they hosted large Sunday cookouts for many summers, a tradition that began in Thoroughgood at Sue’s parents’ home. Kind, helpful, nurturing, encouraging, punctual, thankful and always looking for one more way to be productive and help others, Harry Cohen always tried to do the right thing. He will be missed by everyone he met in his store, at the opera, theater, symphony, and synagogue or at one of his son’s restaurants.

Harry is survived by his wife Sue, daughter Sara Jo and husband Joel Rubin, daughter Jill Cohen, son Jeff Cohen, grandson Danny Rubin and his wife Shikma, granddaughter Molly Nizhnikov and her husband Joe and grandson Dylan Cohen, as well as by many nieces and nephews who had great affection for their Uncle Harry. He is also survived by one sister, Miriam Weisberg, and was predeceased by another, Pearl Brenner.

A funeral service, conducted by Rabbi Michael Panitz took place graveside at Forest Lawn Cemetery. Altmeyer Funeral Home. Memorial donations can be made to the Harry A. Cohen New Mahzor Fund at Temple Israel. Email templeisraelva@aol.com.