Levine Chapels


Fred Cohen

Fred Cohen, 76, of Sherborn, formerly of Wayland and Newton, passed away on November 18, 2020 at his home after a 10-year battle with cancer. Fred grew up in Dorchester, attended Boston Latin School (class of 1961) and continued his studies at Boston University where he received a degree in History and Political Science. Shortly after graduating, Fred was drafted into the Army where he served in Vietnam. Despite being against the war, he felt it was his patriotic duty to serve. He became an area intelligence specialist and joined the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) in Vietnam where he became a Green Beret and paratrooper, ultimately earning a Bronze Star. He once reflected that he felt very fortunate to survive his Vietnam experience and that it gave him a better appreciation of life and how fragile it is: “We have to weigh any and all consequences of war.”

Fred was vice president of his family’s business, the iconic Out of Town News in Harvard Square. He began working there when he was 11 and served newspapers and conversation to generations of Harvard students, sightseers, and Cambridge characters and dignitaries. Fred never met a stranger. New acquaintances often evolved into deep and lasting friendships.

He lost his beloved first wife, Alva, to cancer in 1999, then met Peggi in a hospice-sponsored grief support group and was blessed with a second beautiful marriage and blended family.

A lover of history and a dedicated Sudoku solver, Fred had a passion for recycling – anything and everything. His retirement years were spent traveling, volunteering with his local aging council driving seniors to medical appointments and cheering on his beloved Boston sports teams with friends and family. Fred is survived by his wife, Peggi Murchison Cohen; son, Seth Cohen, and wife, Kimberly; daughter, Emily Cohen, and husband, Michael Orff; stepson, Bob Murchison, and wife, Alison; stepdaughters, Lori Murchison Chervin and husband, Brad; and Debbi Marshall and husband, Todd; brother, Sheldon Cohen, and wife Gaby; sister-in-law, Annie Green and husband, Leon. He was predeceased by first wife, Alva (Gillvan) Cohen and parents, Harry and Esther Cohen. Fred was a beloved Papa to Aiden and Abby Cohen, Wyatt Orff, Gabe and John Murchison, Eliana Chervin, the late Jon-Alec Chervin, Collin and Kyla Marshall. In lieu of flowers, consider a donation to The Jon-Alec Fund (, or send a check to 112 Calico Lane, Fairfield, CT 06824), or to the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program at the New England Center & Home for Veterans (

A private family funeral service will be held. You are cordially invited to participate virtually via this link on Sunday, Nov. 22, at 1pm. Burial will be private.

A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.


  • A private family funeral service will be held. You are cordially invited to participate virtually via this link on Sunday, November 22, at 1pm.

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Fred Cohen

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Gail Stein

November 22, 2020

Seth, I was so sorry to read of your father's death. I remember how close you were to both your parents and I think of you often as I drive through Harvard Square. I still wear the pin your parents gave me when you graduated from Newton North. My thoughts are with you.

Andrea Rudolph

November 22, 2020

Dear Peggi, Lori, Bob, and all,

Please accept my deepest condolences.

The funeral was so beautiful. I'm grateful to have attended virtually and appreciated hearing more about Fred's amazing story and heart. From my limited interactions with Fred, I always felt his warmth and deep love for you all.

Wishing you comfort, strength and peace,
(Lori and Brad's friend)


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