ForeverMissed
Jeanne Arlene Cohen Blackman
February 24, 1936 – February 1, 2021

Jeanne Blackman passed away peacefully on the first day of February at Beacon Brook Health Center in Naugatuck, Connecticut. She was 84 years old and succumbed to complications from hip surgery. Her son Ed was with her in her last days. 

Jeanne was born February 24, 1936, in Meadville, Pennsylvania to Robert and Gussie Cohen. Soon afterwards, the family moved to Youngstown, Ohio where Jeanne was raised.

Jeanne devoted her life to teaching and learning. She studied education in college and went on to teach primary school and special education for more than 30 years first in Louisiana and then in southern and central California. In her 50s, she learned Braille and taught visually impaired and other special needs children. After retiring in 2001, she taught dance and flower arranging a local senior centers and pursued a variety of hobbies including gardening, poetry, photography, dance, and yoga. She read constantly and widely her entire life.

Jeanne loved discovery and travel. Not one to stay anywhere for too long, she lived in, among other places, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, San Diego, Chicago, Los Angeles, Forest Falls in the San Bernardino mountains, New Castle (PA), and finally the Southmayd Home in Waterbury, Connecticut, where she moved to be close to her son and grandson.

She had gentle spirit, a great sense of humor and a hearty laugh. In her last home in New Castle, she had a sign on her door that read, “Go around me, I’m retired.”

She is survived by her two sons Edward Blackman of Belmont, MA and Allen Blackman of Chevy Chase, MD, three grandchildren, Lily, Abby and Abner, her sister Shirley Kesselman of Somers, New York and her brother Harry Cohen of San Rafael, California.

A virtual (Zoom) memorial will be held Sunday, February 28, at 1:00 pm East Coast time. If you would like to attend but have not received an invitation with a Zoom link, please contact Allen Blackman.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Southmayd Home in Waterbury, Connecticut.

The family would like to express its gratitude for Jeanne’s caregivers over the last several years, including Debbie Fabian in New Castle, Kara Cunningham and her colleagues at Southmayd Home, and the nurses at Beacon Brook Health Center.
Posted by Suzanne Ponsot on February 28, 2021
To Allen and Ed and your families, 
 My heartfelt condolences to you both on the passing of your mother, my aunt. May the fond memories you share bring you comfort and may our bond continue to help us continue the Blackman/Cohen legacy alive for generations to come. Love Suzanne along with my husband Chris, and children Kimberly and her husband Richard Rognlie, and Douglas and his wife, Colleen Ponsot.

 Love , Suzanne
Posted by Edward Blackman on February 16, 2021
I miss you, Mom! I'll carry you with me always. I always felt that you loved me, and I loved you. And you were kind enough to laugh at all my "jokes", no matter how dumb.

Leave a Tribute

 
Recent Tributes
Posted by Suzanne Ponsot on February 28, 2021
To Allen and Ed and your families, 
 My heartfelt condolences to you both on the passing of your mother, my aunt. May the fond memories you share bring you comfort and may our bond continue to help us continue the Blackman/Cohen legacy alive for generations to come. Love Suzanne along with my husband Chris, and children Kimberly and her husband Richard Rognlie, and Douglas and his wife, Colleen Ponsot.

 Love , Suzanne
Posted by Edward Blackman on February 16, 2021
I miss you, Mom! I'll carry you with me always. I always felt that you loved me, and I loved you. And you were kind enough to laugh at all my "jokes", no matter how dumb.
her Life

Meadville

Jeanne was the daughter of Robert Warren Cohen and Gussie Esther Solomon Cohen both second generation Jewish immigrants living in Youngstown, Ohio. After marrying, Bob and Gussie settled in Meadville, Pennsylvania, where they owned and operated a bar and grill during the late 1920s and early 1930s. Their first child Shirley was born there in October 1934 and Jeanne was born 16 months later in February 1936.

Youngstown

Soon after Jeanne’s birth, her parents moved back to Youngstown to open Bob’s Supermarket, a neighborhood grocery store on the north side of town. Although only about the size of a large 7-11, it was crammed with most everything a modern supermarket features including dry goods, freshly butchered meat and produce. The cash register was on a raised platform in the middle of the store and shelves along the walls ran from floor practically to ceiling. Jeanne’s younger brother Harry was born in Youngstown in February 1940.

Today, Youngstown and other mill towns in northeastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania are part of the rust belt. But, during its heyday, which coincided with Jeanne’s childhood, Youngstown was a thriving prosperous city of about 160K people. The Cohen family lived in a two-story brick house at 113 Dennick Avenue, a few blocks from the supermarket. Like most houses in the neighborhood, theirs was shaded by large trees and had a spacious front porch where the family spent summers playing cards and chatting with friends and visitors.

In Youngstown, Jeanne attended Harding elementary school, Rutherford B. Hayes Junior High School, and Rayen High school. She and her siblings worked in the family store after school. In addition, during her summers in High School, Jeanne worked as director of a city playground. She and her family were active in congregation Anshe Emeth.

Columbus: Ohio State University

After graduating high school in 1954, Jeanne attended her father’s alma mater, Ohio State University, where she majored in radio, speech and education. There, she met Abner Blackman, a geology student from New York City. The two were married in March 1956, Jeanne’s junior year, at Temple Anshe Emeth in Youngstown.
Recent stories

Happy (belated) Birthday!

Shared by Edward Blackman on February 25, 2021
Dear Mom,

        Happy (belated) Birthday!  It's February 25th, the day after your birthday...
        You were born February 24, 1936... you would have been 85.  I would have    
        sent you flowers like I always do.
        I would have procrastinated on getting in contact with FTD, then would have
        called to wish you happy birthday, and apologized for the late flowers.
        In lieu of that tradition, I'm writing this email a day late. And instead of flowers, I set
        up the shrine pictured in this photo.
        It has pictures of you, Al, your grandchildren, and me.  Also chocolate, your photos
        and drawings, the salt light I got you at Southmayd, your glasses, shells, driftwood,
        a passage on acceptance, and a lucky Chinese cat.
        Whenever I come across something I think you'd like, I'll add it to the shrine...

                                             Happy Birthday, Mom!
                                             I love you and miss you.
                                             Ed
                                         

Running (ok, more like Walking) With the Pack

Shared by Edward Blackman on February 23, 2021
       When Mom first moved to New Castle, PA in 2006 she rented a house.  A year later she bought a small house (with a big yard) across the street, her first time as a homeowner.  She loved to garden, and spent time planting flowers in the yard.
        She adopted a dog Sweetie from the pound, then another dog Ditty to keep Sweetie company.  Mom loved animals, and usually kept one or more cats.  No dogs because she always rented.  She loved taking Sweetie and Ditty for walks, and all the loyal doggie love and affection.
         Sweetie was well named because she was calm, gentle, and sweet.  Ditty was also well named...  She was a little hyper and scattered.  Here's a poem Mom wrote about Ditty...

                                                     Ditty Dog
                                            16 year old Ditty Dog
                                     Prances in the snow, tail wagging,
                                             Stretches when petted,  
                                                Sleeps frequently,
                                         Wakes up at night for water
                                                     And to pee.
                                        Hears well ; sees little, having
                                                      Cataracts.
                                                 Prefers table food,
                                                 But seldom gets it.
                                               Tolerates my two cats, 
                                           Sleeps on my bedroom floor,
                                             Covered by a warm throw,
                                         Awakes during the night panting,
                                                       Loves me,
                                                     And I love her.
                                                                                 Jeanne Blackman
                                                                                 January 2011

      The last dog Mom adopted was named Betsy.  She looked like a pug and was small and fat.  She was totally devoted to Mom, and followed her from room to room.
       When Mom sat or lay on her bed, Betsy would try to jump up.  She'd usually bounce off the side of the bed and land back on the floor.  Not easily discouraged, she'd repeat the same
cycle... until Mom put a wooden step for her next to the bed.
        Debbie (Mom's caregiver during her last years in New Castle) found both Betsy and Mom's cats foster homes when Mom moved to Southmayd.  

        


Homing Pigeons

Shared by Edward Blackman on February 11, 2021
I moved from Philadelphia to Pacific Beach, San Diego in 1991.  The first place I rented was a small cottage, about 3 blocks from the beach.  Mom, Dad, Al, and I lived in San Diego in the mid 60's, when Dad went to Scripps in La Jolla.
       I've loved the beach since I learned how to swim.  Living with my dad, we went to Bethany Beach, DE where I first learned to body surf.  I had a fantasy about becoming a surfer in CA...  I settled for boogie boarding.
        Mom visited from Los Angeles when I moved to San Diego.  We were walking around the neighborhood when Mom recognized the house we had lived in 30 years previously.  She got very excited (and kind of loud... child like excitement).  She walked around the house until the owner came out to ask if she could help us.
         Later I thought was it more than a coincidence that I ended up living so close to where we did in 1965.  The older I get, the more I think there's something inexplicable going on.  Or maybe it's the primal urge to return to the ocean.
         Which Mom had too... we'd usually go to the beach when we visited.  When Mom visited us before entering assisted living, we went to Rockport, which is an hour north of Boston.  Rockport is really good for shopping and window shopping, both of which Mom enjoyed.