January 2010

Retrospective: Mildred Cohn (1913–2009)

When I was no longer a student, Mildred became a friend. After Henry’s death, I remember helping her hang pictures after she moved into her apartment overlooking Rittenhouse Square. Before Henry got sick, Mildred used to occasionally talk about what they would do together in their retirement. In recent years, Mildred became a theater buddy. We enjoyed countless hours in the theater, and the meals before or after were always filled with rich conversation— sometimes science, often personal.

I will miss Mildred. I will miss seeing the family photographs grow in size. I will miss hearing about the accomplishments of children and grandchildren and the arrival of great-grandchildren. I was fortunate to have become Mildred’s student when I was young and to have had her as part of my life for so many decades. I knew Mildred as a great woman, a great scientist, a great mentor and as a great friend.

Eileen K. Jaffe
Professor
Fox Chase Cancer Center

***

As Mildred Cohn’s first postdoctoral fellow, I was deeply saddened by her death. Mildred was a perfect mentor, inspiring by example, and was understanding and supportive of my ventures into mechanistic chemistry, tolerant of my idiosyncrasies and corrective of my errors. As an independent investigator, I long continued to rely on Mildred for sound scientific and administrative advice.

I am consoled by the fact that Mildred led a long, productive and mostly healthy life, reaching 96 years. I take great pride in my association with Mildred and by the fact that, as a medical doctor, I continued to annoy her about her smoking until she stopped at age 50, which may well have contributed to her long life. 

Albert S. Mildvan
Professor emeritus of biological chemistry and chemistry
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

***

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