My Good-bye to Dr. Marvin Cohen – THE LAST TRUE RENAISSANCE MAN

Renaissance Man is defined as a person who is “enlightened” in all subject matter . . .  a person with many talents or areas of knowledge.

Marv Cohen, dentist, entrepreneur father, husband and grandfather, is the only Renaissance Man I have ever met. I have long read about the concept of a Renaissance Man. I thought it was an urban myth. I thought I would meet a unicorn before I met a Renaissance Man in my lifetime.  Until I got to know Marv Cohen.

Decades ago a very smart woman gave me this advice, “instead of looking for extraordinary people, look for ordinary people doing extraordinary things”.

At first glance Marv Cohen might have looked like an ordinary person. When you looked again, he was so extraordinary.

There are few visionaries in the world today. Dr. Cohen could see a future better than anyone I ever met. With a successful and busy dental practice, he chose to get his MBA. And he chose to fly to Chicago once a week to take the classes.

I asked him once if he got his MBA as an academic exercise or to help his practice. Although it was years ago, I remember the clarity of his answer: it changed how I did everything even how I ordered toilet paper.

He took poetry on line in a class at Stanford – yes that Stanford. His poetry professor referred him to Harvard Law School. Every Monday for a semester he got on a plane on Monday morning and audited a class, and then flew home Monday afternoon.

He made these incredible model boats. When he had a challenge one time, he found a model boat expert in Michigan, put the boat in the back seat of his sports car, and went to find a solution to his problem.

When I audited Constitutional Law a couple of years ago at the law school, I should not have been surprised when I walked in and there was Marv, the Renaissance Man.

Always with a quip and a smile, he had an interest in what you were doing. From Chicago to Cambridge, his intellectual curiosity knew no state borders. He did his part to make everything he touched better.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *