June 6, 1928 - May 30, 2021
Paula Cohn was born on June 6, 1928, named Pauline Harriet Brimberg, as the 4th child of Simon and Sadie (nee Hoffstein) Brimberg, in Brooklyn, New York. Her siblings were Rose, the oldest (age 9), next came Michael (age 7), and third Dorothy (age 2). Their father died when Paula was one-year old and her brother tended to her like a father, particularly when she became a teenager. The family suffered economically and when Paula was 10 years old, they moved to 107th Street on the west side of Manhattan. While enrolled in Junior High School 68, Paula was acclaimed in school plays, acting as a scary witch. In after-school recreation, she met Frank while playing ping pong; she had no idea that she was going to marry him six years later. Her teachers selected her to compete for a slot in the renowned Hunter College High School and she entered that school after passing its test. By then the war had started and her beloved brother was drafted into the US Marine Corps and sadly did not survive; Paula could never quite transcend this tragedy. After High School graduation, she enrolled as an Education major in the City College of New York (CCNY), entering as one of the first women accepted by the College. There she met Frank again who had returned from the war and in November 1948 they eloped to be married. There was a post-war housing shortage, and their marriage remained a secret for almost one month, until they finally found a one-room apartment with kitchenette on 100th Street in Manhattan. Now Paula went to work as a model for Lerner Shops in the New York garment center and transferred to CCNY night-school, supporting Frank economically until he graduated in the following year. She left New York as an Army wife in June 1949, about one year short of graduation. The first residence after New York was Columbus Georgia near Fort Benning. Six months later it was Junction City, Kansas adjacent to Fort Riley. The first year dictated economic constraints based on Frank’s meager Lieutenant’s salary. In 1949 Frank had orders for Europe; they shipped out on an Army transport with Frank in a room with 3 other officers and Paula in a room with 3 other wives. Assignments were only given upon arrival at Bremerhaven. Paula had followed the airlift story about Berlin and the Russians had just lifted the blockade – it was a worry for her, and she prayed that the assignment would be anywhere except Berlin. Upon arrival the assignment was Bamberg, Germany with duty station Grafenwöhr. “Grafenwöhr where is that” Well, at least it is not Berlin!” Paula ended up in Bamberg, while Frank took off to Grafenwöhr maneuver area. Paul languished alone with a non-English-speaking German maid, paid for by war reparations and a newly acquired German Shepard puppy named Duke. It was a very lonely experience until six months later Frank received a transfer to Berlin and Paula was quite happy to go there, where there was far less separation. They had a beautiful, requisitioned villa with a garden in back, while Dukie harassed the swans in a nearby lake. Unfortunately, the Berlin tour was cut short after one year when President Eisenhower insisted on thinning out the dependents in the engulfed city. It was back to Bamberg but only for a short stay, as Frank’s Infantry assignment ended, and he was transferred to a Military Police job in Darmstadt. That city was a university town, and they enjoyed the Fasching’s activities with the students during the spring. Again, the stay was short-lived as Frank’s unit was transferred to Wurzburg. There was no way to plant roots. In 1953 it was back to the States, to Augusta, Georgia with a short stay for Frank’s school in Fort Gordon and then to Youngstown, New York where Paula got a job on the Fort Niagara Post and later acted as Guide for visitors at the Old Fort. Frank became allergic to Dukie and Paula had to make a decision whether to keep Frank or Duke. They reluctantly gifted Dukie to a family with seven-year-old twins who ended up loving that dog as much as they did. When Frank received overseas orders to Korea in 1957, Paula returned to her mother’s house in Manhattan and finished College at CCNY, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree. While student teaching in New York was a challenge with older groups of Spanish-speaking kids, the next stop was an even bigger challenge in Fayetteville, North Carolina where Paula gained employment as a 3rd grade teacher in nearby Spring Lake, teaching kids of soldiers stationed at Fort Bragg. There were no breaks, hardly any janitorial assistance and a very large class with diverse backgrounds. Although there was reciprocity for the teaching license from New York, Paula was still required to take a North Carolina history course. Paula encouraged Frank to submit an application for advanced degree education and surprisingly he was selected by the Army to attain a Masters Degree at Michigan State University; Paula said: “Me too!” and enrolled in the school’s education program leading to a Masters Degree in Guidance and Counseling. As an Army wife, she was charged in-State tuition and as older students they were invited into faculty housing. While Paula decided to forego further studies and instead seek employment in the Killeen, Texas school system where she taught 5th grade children in a school on the Army base, and with a requirement to take a Texas history course. In 1963 it was off to Washington, DC and instead of teaching, the Cohn’s decided to become parents. Laura Ellen Cohn was born in 1964 and life was no longer the same thereafter. The first step was to move to a larger apartment. And thereafter being a mother to Laura turned out to be a full-time job. After a brief move to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, it was off on the steamship ‘United States’ for a second tour in Germany. This time the Cohn’s traveled as ‘First Class’ passengers. The three-year tour was divided between Boeblingen near Stuttgart and Fuerth near Nuernberg. Paula was drawn into the Army Wives Club, where she ended up chairing the local chapters while tending to Laura’s ever-growing requirements. In 1969, while Frank was off to Vietnam, Paula with Laura rented a house for a year in Long Beach, NY. It was close to the beach, not too far from her sister Dorothy or even her mother’s apartment in Manhattan. In a silly dispute with her landlord, she was evicted as Frank returned from Vietnam and they were happy to celebrate the eviction residing one month in Miami Beach, Florida. And then it was off for their third overseas tour in Germany, to Heidelberg. For over a year, they lived in an apartment in nearby Kirchheim, on the German economy, where Laura and her newly found German girlfriend developed a special Anglicized German language to converse with one another. Subsequently there was another move to a beautiful house in the Heidelberg American Housing Area. Officers Wives Club commitments followed. It was a pleasant life in an American enclave within a foreign country. In June 1974 there were orders for Frank to return to Washington, DC. Frank went ahead first and bought a house in the Mount Vernon District of Virginia. When Paula finally saw it, that is when she decided to acquire a new career as a Real Estate Agent. She passed the test without problems and joined Mount Vernon Real Estate, which later was absorbed by Weichert Realty. She took more courses and secured a Real Estate Broker’s license. Her earnings became savings and that continued past the turn of the century until 2007, when she finally retired from the workforce. She was able to fix up her home until she became happy with it. She really hated to leave it when Frank insisted that it was time to move into an easier lifestyle. In November 2016 they moved to The Fairfax, a military retirement community and leased a two-bedroom with den apartment. It was not the happiest time for Paula. She missed her former house and in February 2017 suffered a minor stroke. Two years later she suffered a bad fall which fractured her right shoulder. By November 2019 she was fully recovered from the fall and celebrated her 71st Wedding Anniversary at The Fairfax. She will be sadly missed by all who knew her. A funeral service will be held at Belvoir Chapel, 5950 12th St., Ft. Belvoir, VA 22060 on Thursday, June 3, 2021 at 2PM. Interment at Arlington National Cemetery on a later date. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Paula’s memory to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum at www.ushmm.org.
Paula Cohn was born on June 6, 1928, named Pauline Harriet Brimberg, as the 4th child of Simon and Sadie (nee Hoffstein) Brimberg, in Brooklyn, New York. Her siblings were Rose, the oldest (age 9), next came Michael (age 7), and third Dorothy... View Obituary & Service Information
Obituary & Service
Paula Cohn was born on June 6, 1928, named Pauline Harriet Brimberg,...View More
Flowers & Gifts
Send flowers to the Cohn family.Send Flowers