Dr. Phin Cohen

June 1, 1928January 31, 2013

Dr. Phin Cohen, died in Boston on January 31, 2013, at age 84. He is survived by his loving wife, Joan, their five children, Roger (Amy), Eric (Miriam), Julia, Joshua, and Emily (Rob), and 13 grandchildren. He was a doctor and biochemist. He was born in Baltimore, the only son of Israel and Maxine. He attended college at Duke University. After medical school at the University of Maryland, he served as a flight surgeon in the US Air Force, and completed his medical training at Boston City Hospital and Peter Bent Brigham Hospital. He moved his family to the Netherlands in 1966, to enhance their lives and his and to continue his research on phospholipid biochemistry. On his return to the USA in 1969, Phin continued his work as a biochemist and medical doctor. In 1975 he charged Harvard University with misusing his hard-won scientific grant funds. Harvard made restitution of $132,000 to the NIH almost immediately but Phin lost his job and his lab. Phin continued to serve as a physician well into his late 70’s. He was known for his keen insight, and his devotion to his family and his professional trainees. He adored every one of his grandchildren, delighting in their many achievements and adventures. Professionally and personally he was throughout his life a fearless iconoclast with a unique and profound sense of justice. Services will be held at graveside, in New Bloomfield, Pennsylvania.


  • Graveside Service

Dr. Phin Cohen

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David Pradell

May 2, 2013

All my respect to the family - he was a great friend.

Eileen Barbuto

April 1, 2013

I had the great pleasure to work with Phin at Boston University. He was a brilliant and compassionate M.D. I really missed his since of humor when he left. Thank u Phin for the great memories

February 12, 2013

I was fortunate to have worked witih Dr. Cohen in his Saturday morning clinic at Brandeis University for several years back in the early '80's. He would pull up in his unassuming car (I think a VW bug) and come to work with the clear intention of not only providing compassionate and excellent medical care to his patients, but also to entertain the nursing staff with his clever wordplay, stimulate us with his astute ideas and discuss the latest news items, with which he was always right up-to-date. I've always remembered Dr. Cohen as one of the most down-to-earth, caring, honest, and delightful people I've been fortunate enough to meet, one who represented physicians in such a good way. I haven't seen Dr. Cohen in many years, but I still remember him so well. I am so sorry for his family and friends to have lost him from their lives. I have some idea of just how profound a loss that must be for all of you.

Elayne Cantor, RN (Formerly DiBiccaro)

Gilbert P. Cohen

February 10, 2013

A grandson of Russian Immigrants of the late 1880's, Phin rose to become an outstanding figure in his field. His achievements are a credit to our far flung family and I join in adding my name to those who will miss him

February 7, 2013

Our hearts and prayers reach out to Joan and their family. Phin was not only a brilliant scientist and gentleman but a courageous and loving humanitarian. He was an inspiring mentor and dear friend for 40 years. We will miss him.

Jules Kirsch

February 6, 2013

One of my dear cousins. He will be missed.

Han Broekman

February 6, 2013

It is with great regret that I received the news of Phin Cohen's passing. I worked with him in Holland and in Boston, and considered him my mentor. He was one of the preeminent scientists in his area at the time. I will always honor and remember him fondly. I hope his wife and family can find consolation in knowing that Afina and I will keep Phin in our thoughts.

February 5, 2013

I worked for many years as a nurse at Brandeis University and Dr.Cohen was in charge of the Saturday morning clinic and besides being an excellent doctor; he and I would discuss/debate politics and world happenings. My sincere condolences to his family---he was such a precious man. Sincerely, Elaine Cacciapuoti,RN

February 5, 2013

I was a "youngster" having just graduated from college when I met Dr. Cohen when I started working at the former Peter Bent Brigham Hospital.
Although I did not have a great deal of contact with him, I was impressed by his humanity,ethics and hard work. My thoughts and prayers to his family
Mary Mahlmann (Brookline,MA)

Suzanne Salamon

February 4, 2013

I am happy I knew Dr.Cohen, even for the few years. He was a wonderful advocate for Joan. He frequently brought me medical articles with important points highlighted. I shall miss him. Best to his entire family.Warmly, Suzanne Salamon