Gerald Stephen Cohen

August 15, 1943 ~ November 7, 2020 (age 77)



On November 7, 2020, Jerry Cohen of Albany, NY passed away suddenly at age 77 from heart disease.  Born in Brooklyn, NY, Jerry moved to the Albany area following graduation from the University of Rochester in 1965.  He pursued graduate studies in mathematics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where he taught freshman calculus before beginning a 35 year career with the New York Department of Transportation in transportation planning.  He is survived by his sisters, Carol Cohen Sheinbaum (Joel) of Roslyn Heights, NY, and Phyllis Kessler Slesinger (Scott) of Washington, DC; nephews, William Sheinbaum (Karen) and Stuart Sheinbaum (Dana); nieces, Meredith Slesinger and Jennifer Slesinger (Vincent), and great nieces and nephews, Hilary, Justin, Matthew, Andrew, Emma and Vanessa Sheinbaum, all of whom he loved dearly and most generously.  He was pre-deceased by his father, William Cohen of Brooklyn, his mother Henrietta Cohen Kessler, late of Albany; and his step-father, Floyd Kessler of Albany with whom Jerry was very close.

Jerry was an avid duplicate bridge player, a diamond Life Master with over 5,000 master points, a rank exceeded by only 1% of American Contract Bridge League members.  He became one of the youngest Life Masters while only in his mid-twenties.   Jerry played in elite circles, including once opposite the actor Omar Sharif, also famous for his bridge playing.  Jerry was a long-time figure at, and past-president of, the Capital District Bridge Association.  He also served as president of the Point of Woods home owners association. 

Although usually quiet and self-effacing, Jerry was a clever author and performer of parodies that he sang at both at work and family events.   While a student, at the campus radio stations of the U of R and RPI, and before radio became so homogenized, Jerry showed his originality as an amusing DJ of eclectic programs of music and comedy.

In addition to bridge, Jerry’s avocations included investing, for which his guidance was often sought by family members, and exploring the universe through the internet, from which he extracted a broad spectrum of thought-provoking articles and purely entertaining pieces that he shared with friends and family.  He was an avid movie-goer and reader of science fiction and mysteries.  A continuous learner, Jerry greatly enjoyed his courses at the Humanities Institute of Lifelong Learning.  But, family was Jerry’s first and foremost love.  He was a gentle soul who will be sorely missed.

The family wants to extend special thanks to David Rudinger for his friendship with Jerry and his great assistance to the family.

Burial will be on Long Island with his parents.  There will be a virtual celebration of Jerry’s life and Shiva observance at a later date. Donations in honor of Jerry's life may be made to the charity of your choice  To share photos and other memories of Jerry and to get information on the Shiva observance, please go to





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