Philip Edward Cohen

January 5, 1929June 6, 2019

Philip E. Cohen, age 90, of Boulder, CO passed away at home in peace on June 6, 2019.

Philsey or Big Phil (as he was known to his many family and friends) was born to Sam (“Pop”) Cohen and Lena (“Nan”) Rosenblatt on January 5, 1929 in Boston, Massachusetts. After earning his diploma at English High School at 1946, Phil joined the Navy and served for 2 years, playing baseball for his country on the USS Saipan in the Caribbean during post-WWII operations.

In 1948, Phil enrolled at the University of Colorado on the GI bill expecting Cowboys and Indians. Instead, he found his home and love of his life - Marilyn Chambers, a newly-minted University dance instructor. Philsey was an accomplished baseball player at CU and an avid Boston Red Sox fan. At the behest of former CU baseball coach Frank "Chief" Prentup, Phil would take up his most beloved sport, Handball, playing into his 80’s. He thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie of his fellow players and coffees with the “Old Jocks Club” on Tuesday mornings.

Phil had a 30-year tenure as a Social Studies teacher and baseball coach at Boulder and Fairview High Schools, with an interlude as Social Studies Coordinator of Curriculum for the RE2 School District. He was beloved by his many students, fellow teachers and coaches - impacting their lives with his unique instruction style. This sometimes involved some yelling and throwing of erasers. Philco (yet another of his pseudonyms) was an early adopter of teaching history from the perspectives of Native Americans, African Americans, and Asian Americans. Through his work in the classroom and on the baseball diamond, he reached teenagers that some others had given up on.

After retiring from public education in the mid-1980s, Phil took on several other “second careers” selling educational materials throughout the West, driving elderly residents, and greeting visitors as unelected Mayor at the Boulder Mall (or “Phil on the hill, what a pill”).

Philsey will always be known as a “big” man full of generosity. He would go out of his way to meet new people - caring for each person he met; remembering details of their lives; and sharing stories, jokes, hugs, and songs – often with incorrect lyrics. He believed in the goodness of his family, friends, and life to his last breath. Phil lost his son Brad in 2011 and is survived by his wife of nearly 65 years – Marilyn, his daughter – Lisa, and his son – Bruce. He has left his mark in our personal history books and will be greatly missed by his many fans and family.

Phil’s family and friends will gather for a celebration of his life on the evening of August 6th. Please email if you are interested in participating. For those who wish, Phil would appreciate donations to the Bridge House, which provides support to the homeless and those in transition.


No services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Philip Edward Cohen

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Jennifer (Williams) Torres

June 13, 2019

I had Phil for several classes in the late 70's, early 80's. He was and still is one of my all time favorite teachers. I remember having him for African Studies which was a very small class. He loaded us all up in his station wagon and took us to the museum in Denver. I also remember his love of "fine" chocolate which he would bring and share with the class. I once bought him a Hershey bar chew toy and wrapped it in a regular wrapper to prove to him the simpler things were just as good. He was an amazing man. I'm very sorry for your loss, but glad you were blessed for all the years you had him.

Larry Schultz

June 13, 2019

Loved Phil! We were together at Boulder High in the late 60’s when I succeeded Phil as the Boulder High Baseball Coach; last saw Phil and Dan Creedon on Pearl Street years ago where they were watching and greeting passersby, many of whom knew them both; Phil was one of the best men I’ve ever known. A great man.
Larry Schultz

Rebecca Morris

June 13, 2019

So sorry to hear of Phil's passing. What a great teacher he was! I graduated from Fairview in 1971 and had him for American History there. He kept us all highly engaged (and entertained), and we learned so much, both about History and each other. He was one of my favorite teachers of all time and I'll always keep fond memories of him and his class. My condolences to his family.

Bob Keatley

June 13, 2019

So sorry to hear of Coach's passing. He was a terrific person. I graduated from Boulder High in 1966. During the summers of 1963, 1964, & 1965 I played on the Legion baseball team that he and Don Garramone coached. Coach Cohen taught us a lot about baseball and Life. My parents were divorced in 1963 and I always felt that Coach Cohen gave me some special attention. He was the Father that I didn't have and I have appreciated that through all these years. One memory: After out-of-town baseball games, on the drive back to Boulder we always stopped to eat at a McDonalds or something similar. Coach Cohen would stand at the door of the bus as we exited, and hand us money for food. I would always say "Thank you" and he would always say "Keatley, Don't thank me. Thank the good Lord that we have it." He was a true inspiration to me. >> Bob Keatley

Emily Geras

June 11, 2019

Phil was an amazing guy and made such a positive impact on me and so many others around him. I was lucky enough to have met him and to be one of his caregivers. He never failed to make me laugh and to put a smile on my face. He always sang loudly and said silly things that made me crack up. I remember one time we read our horoscopes and I loved how intrigued he was. He always liked to engage in interesting conversation and I always appreciated his energy and charisma. Although he was struggling in his final years, I know that he was a happy man and lived a very long and happy life. Marilyn is also so great and wonderful and positive. (Dancers are just the best, aren't they?) I'm sorry for your loss, Marilyn, Lisa, Bruce and all of Phil's family. My thoughts and prayers and love are with you. Heaven gained a lucky one. Phil, you will be missed. Rest in peace <3