He was born to Lena (Goodwin) and Israel Cohen on February 26, 1924, in Worcester, MA. He was educated at Worcester’s Classical High School, Class of 1942. After graduation, Les started college for a Bachelor’s Degree in Business at Boston University.
WWII interrupted his studies, and Lester left school to serve his country. He enlisted in the US Army Air Corps where he served as a navigator on B24s as part of an aircrew unit in the Pacific Theatre. He flew 52 combat missions and was the recipient of the Asiatic Pacific Theatre Ribbon with 4 Bronze Stars and the Philippine Liberation Camp Ribbon Air Medal with 2 OLC, and 2 Service Bars. He was honorably discharged at the rank of 1st Lieutenant in 1945.
On August 25, 1946, Lester exchanged vows with the love of his life Norma (Russem) Cohen in Boston. They had a simple service with their family and friends at the Copley Hotel. They would have celebrated 76 years of marriage this summer.
Lester was the long-time chairman and CEO of C&S Wholesale Grocers for 50 years until retiring in 1990. He was a Mason for many years.
He enjoyed spending time playing tennis, golf, Bridge, and reading the newspaper cover to cover. Les was a very sociable person. He had a soft side to him. Everyone loved Lester.
Les is survived by his wife, Norma, of Keene and Boca Raton, his three sons, Robert A. Cole and his wife, Mary Jo of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, James R. Cohen and his wife, Susan of Bozeman, Montana. and Richard B. Cohen and his wife, Jan of Keene. He is also survived by his six grandchildren, Kate Mulcahy, Leslie Cohen, Alex Cohen, Perry Cohen, Jill Cohen, and Rachell Kanter, along with 8 great-grandchildren and one more on the way. In addition, he leaves cousins, nieces, nephews, extended family, and friends. He is now reunited with his sister, Dolly Gruber.
A service will be held at 2:00 pm on Sunday, April 24, 2022, at Congregation Ahavas Achim, 84 Hastings Avenue, Keene, NH. 03431 with burial to follow at Monadnock View Cemetery, Park Ave, Keene. The family requests that all attendees wear tight-fitting masks. Contributions in Lester’s memory may be made to the Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Keene State College, 229 Main Street, Keene, NH. 03431, or to the Congregation Ahavas Achim, 84 Hastings Avenue, Keene, NH. 03431. All services are under the care of Cheshire Family Funeral Chapel, 44 Maple Ave. Keene, NH. 03431. WWW.cheshirefamilyfh.com
The funeral service will be live-streamed by using the following link:
Zoom Meeting ID: 83223576755