Adele Cohen, 89, of Ventnor, NJ passed away on January 6, 2021. Daughter of the late Louis and Gertrude Plaskow. She is survived by her children, Reina (Ken) Sprankle, Lois (Marty) Kramer, Sam (Mitz) Cohen. As well as her grandchildren, Jason (Heather) Sprankle, Kyle Sprankle, Eric (Lucia) Kramer, Josh (Emily) Kramer, Bria Kramer and Andrew (Hannah) and three great-grandchildren, Noah Kramer, Dylan Sprankle and Ethan Sprankle. Also survived by her sister Elaine Bonnie (Mort) Maimon.
Adele was so thankful for her life.
She was born on Mother’s Day, May 13, 1931, grew up in a happy, loving home with amazing parents. She looked back on the depression with gratitude for the way her mother and father modeled generosity by supporting so many people during hard times. She was thankful for her incredible brother Stanley, and her brilliant sister Bonnie.
And though her life was not easy, particularly losing both her parents at a young age, she believed that she was lucky. She had a very loving family and several close friends. They were her world and they knew it. Adele didn’t have friends, she had, “friends of the heart”. These were true confidants and lifelong connections of the heart, including Audrey, Martin, Naomi, Phyllis, Don and Bernie.
Adele had a wonderful life. When she spoke, everyone listened. Adele had no problem speaking the truth. In all things that she did – be it in her personal, professional or volunteer life she was wholly present. Never just a participant but a veritable leader. That was the ticket to Adele’s heart. Once the “bug” of equanimity, justice and the common good was ignited in Adele, there was no stopping her.
Adele didn’t just do well in school, she was the Valedictorian.
She wasn’t just active in her sorority D Phi E, at University of Pennsylvania, she was the President.
She didn’t just campaign for Adlai Stevenson, President Kennedy and President Johnson.
She was precinct chairperson and was invited to the Presidential inaugurations.
Adele didn’t just do well in Math, she became an Accountant and would have gone to Wharton Business school if they accepted women at the time.
There’s a great example of this quality from later in Adele’s life. She was living in her condo complex in Ventnor NJ, and the residents got wind that she was an Accountant. So, they asked her to join the building’s finance committee. Adele liked being involved, but when she heard that the full-time employees in the building did not receive health benefits, well… that was unconscionable to Adele. So, she pulled up those civic minded sleeves, rallied the community and re-worked the budget so that there was money enough to provide health benefits in the budget.
Adele’s advocacy cannot be described as a passion or as a singular aspect of her being. Advocating for the vulnerable by seeking out solutions to bring justice to the people in her life was an animating principle for Adele. It was who she was.
Adele loved books. She was an avid reader all her life and even in her late 80s she was running book clubs at Margate library, which the librarian noted that “no one could lead a book club like Adele.” Her natural curiosity and enthusiasm for learning prompted her to encourage that gift in others. So, Adele embarked on a true labor of love and founded FELS, which stands for: Friends of Encore Learning Stockton. Adele organized the course loads, brought in local professors to teach and challenged participants with mind-opening classes. This organization affected the whole community. The proceeds generated scholarships for Stockton University in New Jersey.
Not surprising, this wasn’t just a later in life energy. Adele was like that when volunteering her leadership skills to the PTA, at her kid’s schools. She was like that in her professional career also. When Adele believed in something or wanted to accomplish something, she just did it.
She worked as an Tax Accountant for many years and then became a docent in the Smithsonian Natural History museum.
Anyone who know Adele, knew she had a fantastic memory. She never forgot a thing. And if you met Adele, you never forgot her because she captivated you with her conversation, her memory, her curiosity and her energy.
Adele lived in many places:
Philadelphia, Nashville, Indianapolis, and Rockville, Maryland, and when it was time to retire, Adele chose the beach in Ventnor NJ, a place two blocks from her brother Stanley, sister-in-law, Bunny and her niece Patty and husband Mike. Adele loved to spend time with them and frequently talked about dinners with niece and husband Marci and Howie. Adele loved living at the beach. She would sit with her big floppy hat, overlooking the boardwalk and just listen to the sound of the ocean as she read.
She loved her children and grandchildren. The last time they gathered was on Zoom call on Thanksgiving, Adele’s favorite holiday. And though you couldn’t taste her matzo ball soup, her torsida or her ice cream pumpkin pie, the family had the foresight to make the conversation all about Adele. Story after story, talking over one another, filing the screen with the sounds of laughter, Adele sat happily smiling in her zoom square, soaking it in.
Adele in some ways was indestructible, she’d survived two bouts of cancer, a stroke and a broken femur, a broken shoulder. Through all of that, her mind was very clear. So, she knew the political climate of January 2021. We believe that she heard the news about the Georgia Senate race results. So, Adele, a woman who spent her life as a liberal activist, working for political change, who read the Washington Post cover to cover every single day and could answer most every question on Jeopardy, and could talk for hours about the political world, knew that the Democrats took the Senate, on the day she died.
During her life, Adele was a woman of books, and knew that someday her chapter would conclude, but we would all be here afterwards, to carry her stories, her passion, her energy and her civic advocacy forward into the long bookshelves that encompass this family.
In one line:
Adele was someone who made our world better and didn’t stop seeking change and working for good until the last day of her life.
Zichronam livracha, may her memory be a blessing.
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