Martin Cohen, 95, actor, owned Pa. piano company Martin...

April 16, 2000|By SUN STAFF

Martin Cohen, 95, actor, owned Pa. piano company

Martin Cohen, an actor and former owner of a Philadelphia piano company, died Tuesday of pneumonia at Northwest Hospital Center in Randallstown. He was 95.

The longtime resident of Fallstaff Manor Apartments in Northwest Baltimore established Martin Piano Co. in 1948 in Philadelphia's Germantown section. He sold the business and retired in 1965.

Mr. Cohen began a second career as a character actor and toured for the next 17 years in theatrical productions with such performers as Ethel Merman.

Last year, he moved to Brighton Gardens, an assisted-living community in Pikesville.

He was born in Dusseldorf, Germany, in 1904 while his parents were en route from Odessa, Russia, to New York. The family settled in the Strawberry Manor section of Philadelphia, where he attended public schools until the fourth grade, when he left to help support his family.

During World War I, he worked in the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Later, he was a cabdriver and a professional lightweight boxer.

In 1928, he married Rachel Ellenbaum, who died in 1995. His daughter, Janet Goldhirsh, died in 1975.

A memorial service will be held at 4: 30 p.m. Tuesday at Brighton Gardens, 1840 Reisterstown Road.

He is survived by a brother, Irving Cohen of Owings Mills; a granddaughter, Susan Goldhirsh of Washington; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Henry M. Ratcliffe, 87, railroader, stagehand

Henry M. Ratcliffe, a retired Baltimore and Ohio railroader and avid golfer, died Wednesday from complications of a stroke at Good Samaritan Hospital. He was 87 and lived in White Marsh.

He began his railroading career in 1950 and worked as a brakeman in the B&O's Bayview Yards in East Baltimore until retiring in 1980.

He began working before World War II as a stagehand at the Lyric Theatre and in the late 1940s was invited by Sir Rudolf Bing, director of the Metropolitan Opera Company, to join the company for its European tour, said family members.

A lifelong golfer, Mr. Ratcliffe played at Clifton Park and Mount Pleasant golf courses in the city.

The former 40-year Northwood resident attended city public schools. He was married in 1942 to the former Kathleen A. Slaysman, who survives him.

Services were held yesterday at the Leonard J. Ruck Funeral Home.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son, Henry J. Ratcliffe of Hamilton; a daughter, Anne E. Plempel of Mount Washington; two grandchildren; and a great-grandson.

Sze-Jui `Ray' Liu, 79, internal medicine specialist

Dr. Sze-Jui "Ray" Liu, a retired physician specializing in internal medicine, died Wednesday of brain cancer at his Cockeysville home. He was 79.

Dr. Liu was born in Tienjin in 1920, the son of a general in the Nationalist Army of Chiang Kai-shek. He attended Central University in Nanking, where he also was a medical student.

As a young man, Dr. Liu witnessed the invasion of Nanking by Japanese forces. He and two classmates escaped the city and traveled by boat, train and foot down the coast of China to Chenghu, where he completed medical school.

Leaving China in 1948 for an internship in the United States, Dr. Liu did not know he was leaving his country and family forever because of the Communist takeover.

With $7 in his pocket and two suitcases, he went to his brother in Bethlehem, Pa., whom he had never met. With his brother's help, Dr. Liu completed a residency at Menorah Hospital in Kansas, and then completed a residency at Maryland General Hospital in Baltimore.

There he met Margaret Hutchins Stevens, a nurse, whom he married in 1954.

Even after establishing a private practice in 1959, Dr. Liu retained his ties to Maryland General as an attending physician. He also was an attending physician at Good Samaritan Hospital until he retired from private practice in 1988.

For 10 years, Dr. Liu worked part time at the Social Security Administration until becoming ill in 1998. He returned several times in recent years to visit his native China.

"He always had a smile on his face," said his daughter-in-law, Sherri Kimmel of Mechanicsburg, Pa.

A service was held yesterday at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens, 200 E. Padonia Road in Timonium.

In addition to his wife, Dr. Liu is survived by a son, David Liu of Mechanicsburg, Pa.; a daughter, Susan Liu Kornick of Cockeysville; and three grandchildren.

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