In Memoriam: Wilbur Cohen
Wilbur Cohen (center, in red sweater) surrounded by fellow family members and Cohen Recycling leaders, left to right: Adam Dumes, Neil Cohen, Ken Cohen and Andrew Cohen.
Photo by Robert Osborne

In Memoriam: Wilbur Cohen

Longtime Ohio scrap company chairman has died at age 96.

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February 28, 2020

Wilbur Cohen, the long-time chairman of Middletown, Ohio-based Cohen Recycling, has died at age 96. He helped oversee a scrap recycling firm that has grown consistently in the post-World War II era and has had management involvement from several generations of Cohen family members.

In a notice that went out Feb. 28 from company officers (and Cohen family members) Ken Cohen, Neil Cohen, Andrew Cohen and Adam Dumes, they write, “It is with great sadness that we share the news that Wilbur Cohen has died early this morning, just a week shy of his 97th birthday.”

The third- and fourth-generation family members refer to Wilbur as “a true humanitarian who always believed in supporting the most important asset in a company or a community: its people. Wilbur’s impact on people’s lives in the company, industry and community cannot be overstated, and he will be missed dearly. “

The surviving Cohens refer to Wilbur as “not only the sharp businessman many of you saw every day, he was ‘Grandpa’ and Dad.’ Wilbur’s spirit and example will live on forever and will always be the foundation of Cohen Recycling.”

In a 2003 interview with Recycling Today, Wilbur Cohen expressed pride in helping the firm stay independent rather than sell to a larger company. “There was a temptation to move into that consolidation direction and cash in, but none of us felt it was worth it,” Wilbur commented. “Our customers influenced us to a great extent to stay independent. They wanted to do business with the Cohen family and the Cohen personnel.”

A funeral service has been planned for Sunday, March 1, at Adath Israel Synagogue in Cincinnati, according to Dumes. He said visitation that day will be from 1:30 to 3 p.m. with the funeral service starting at 3 p.m.

He and his fellow family members also say those who would like to share “thoughts, memories or condolences” can send such thoughts via e-mail to rememberwilbur@cohenusa.com.