Cover photo for Barbara Rita Cohen's Obituary
Barbara Rita Cohen Profile Photo

Barbara Rita Cohen

August 1, 1928 — January 22, 2024


Barbara Rita Cohen

Barbara Rita Darvin Cohen

August 1, 1928 – January 22, 2024


Anyone who spent time with Barbara and Mickey Cohen during the past ten years knows their mantra, "Are we lucky, or what?"


Born into difficult circumstances in Brooklyn NY, Barbara Rita Darvin met her best friend and late husband Mickey Maxwell Cohen at Camp Utopia in 1950. After several years of friendship, they kissed for the first time on New Year’s Eve, 1952. Soon they were engaged, following Barbara’s offhanded comment that Mickey would make someone a wonderful husband. Mickey insisted this was a proposal and quickly popped the question. She claimed she was shocked, and asked for a week to consider it, then agreed. Both teachers, they married in April so they could honeymoon during school vacation.


Barbara earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Art and Art History at Hunter College. Her professor, renowned watercolorist Dong Kingman, hired her as a personal secretary. Their friendship and collaboration was lifelong. After her children, Andy (Gerri) and Brad were out of grade school, Barbara returned to teaching. Longtime antiquers, she and Mickey established Elmer and Maxwell Antiques with a schoolteacher friend and her husband. The foursome had great adventures and acquired many treasured objects, with which Barbara and Mickey decorated their beloved home in Bayswater, Far Rockaway.


Barbara combined her personal interests with volunteering and activism. She fought for her children’s elementary school to be integrated. She and Mickey marched in Washington with Dr. Martin Luther King and brought their children to many anti-war protests. She dedicated her time to the local civic association, was a Cub Scout Den Mother, served as Vice President to the Parent Teacher Association, and brought big name performers to the Rockaways through the Rockaway Music and Arts Council.


Through Mickey, she discovered a passion for nature and environmental causes. She coordinated 10,000 volunteers across New York State to participate in the annual International Coastal Cleanup through the American Littoral Society. She served on the Board of Directors of the New York City Audubon Society and the New York State Marine Education Association. She and Mickey were instrumental in establishing Bayswater Point State Park and served as the park’s first Caretakers. Along with Mickey, she became a docent at the American Museum of Natural History.


Barbara received many accolades for her volunteer work, including the Matthew Fountaine Maury Award from the New York State Marine Education Association; the Grass Roots Award and Longtime Service Award from the NYC Audubon Society; the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Quality Award; and was named Everyday Hero by NY Newsday. Together with Mickey, she was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Littoral Society.


Barbara and Mickey were lovingly dedicated to their nieces and nephews, Ricky Cohen (Pam), Leslie Cohen Lobel (Adam), S. David Brookes (Deborah) and Stefani Brookes Culver (Sonny), and their families. Barbara maintained lifelong friendships with her many cousins.


In 2012, Barbara and Mickey fulfilled their lifelong dream of moving to Manhattan. In 2020, they moved to Beverly MA to be close to family, including grandchildren and their partners, Jonathan (Jhana) and Jackie (Ty).


In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider a donation to Care Dimensions Hospice,


Shiva will be held on Saturday, January 27 from 3-6pm in Beverly MA and on Sunday January 28 from 3-6pm in Jamaica Plain.


A Celebration of Life will follow at a later date.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Barbara Rita Cohen, please visit our flower store.


Visits: 428

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree