2018-12-08 / Obituaries

Elliot Cohen


Elliot Cohen Elliot Cohen Elliot Cohen of Bloomfield Hills, a long-time summer cottager on Mackinac Island, passed away Wednesday, November 21, 2018, under the care of his son, Eric. He was 94.

Mr. Cohen was born November 18, 1924, and was reared in Detroit and Miami Beach. He attended Riverside Military Academy in Gainesville, Georgia, Wayne State University, and Vanderbilt University.

He was a veteran of World War II, serving under General George Patton, after which he took over his father’s theatre business and operated many movie theatres in the Detroit area, including the Paradise, Hollywood, and Van Dyke Drive-in. He later owned and operated several nursing homes in Texas.

Mr. Cohen loved to fly, and his most memorable flight was when he flew under the Mackinac Bridge in his seaplane.

He and his wife, Rita Sue, had been married for 68 years when she passed away in 2015. They were married at the Book Cadillac Hotel in Detroit and were invited to the reopening of the hotel in 2008.

The couple was inseparable, friends and family recall, and, since 1955, they spent summers at their 48-acre west bluff estate, Hedgecliff, which Mr. Cohen loved for its natural beauty.

“Elliot loved Mackinac Island and would walk downtown every day to get the mail and stop by to say hi to his many friends, including Mayor Doud, Dale Gallagher, Jim Rowe, and Doc Chambers,” said long-time friend Brad Conkey. “Elliot loved to talk politics, as long as you were to the right of Rush Limbaugh. He would proudly wear his Rush Limbaugh ties to the Island parities, as Elliot would say, ‘to flush out the liberals.’ He did have one very good liberal friend, Wes Maurer, Jr., who he loved to see at the parties.”

Mr. Cohen found it too difficult to return to Hedgecliff after his wife died in 2015, and sold the property last year.

Surviving are the Cohens’ two sons, Steven and Eric, and three “adopted summer children,” Brad and Rob Conkey, who he tried to teach respect for equipment and how to build and repair things, and Jill Sawatzki, who lived with them at Hedgecliff for more than 30 years.

The funeral was held at Davidson/ Hermelin Chapel at Clover Hill Park Sunday, November 25, with Rabbi Daniel Syme officiating.

Interment was at Clover Hill Park Cemetery.

The family has asked that any donations be made to the Mackinac Island Community Foundation’s Richard and Jane Manoogian Historical and Conservation of Open Spaces Fund.

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