Mabel J. Cohen, 95, Assateague advocate

July 07, 2006

Mabel J. Cohen, who with her husband helped have Assateague Island designated a national park, died Sunday of cardiovascular disease at Oak Crest Village in Parkville. The former Snow Hill resident was 95.

She was born Mabel Jones and raised in Hurlock, and at 16 began nurse's training at a tuberculosis hospital in Sabillasville. While at the hospital, she met Dr. Paul Cohen, whom she married in 1936.

In 1937, the couple moved to Salisbury when Dr. Cohen was named superintendent of the Pine Bluff Tuberculosis Sanatorium. In 1945, they moved to Snow Hill, where he established a private medical practice.

She and her husband joined William E. Green, who was known as the unofficial "senator from Assateague," in an effort to spare the island from development.

"Their home became a kind of a media center for reporters from The Sun, The Washington Post and other news organizations," said her son, Albert P. Cohen of Snow Hill.

"In 1965, they were invited to the White House to witness the bill-signing by President Lyndon B. Johnson that created the Assateague Island National Seashore," the son said.

After Dr. Cohen's death in 1965, Mrs. Cohen took over the operation of several chicken farms the couple owned.

In 1989, she moved to Annapolis to care for an ill sister, and after suffering a stroke moved in 1998 to Oak Crest Village.

She was a member of Makemie Memorial Presbyterian Church in Snow Hill, where services will be held at 11 a.m. today.

Also surviving are two daughters, Riley Jones-Carter of New York City and Rebecca M. Neal of Hermitage, Pa.; a sister, Marian Wallace of Towson; three grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

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