Leroy Cohen, 86, businessman

Leroy Cohen
Leroy Cohen
Posted: February 20, 2014

 Leroy Cohen, 86, of Ambler, a World War II veteran and later a businessman, died Sunday, Feb. 16, of sepsis at Abington Hospice Care in Warminster.

Mr. Cohen was proud to be a member of the "Greatest Generation," the men and women who participated in World War II.

Mr. Cohen was born in the West Oak Lane section of Philadelphia. As a child, he developed an enthusiasm for flying and began building model airplanes.

He graduated from Central High School in June 1945. "Lee's hobby is model airplane building, and his objective is the Army Air Corps," his yearbook entry read.

Mr. Cohen enlisted in October 1944 in the Army Air Corps and served until January 1947. He was honorably discharged with the rank of corporal from the 92d Fighter Squadron, 81st Fighter Group.

As an administrative noncommissioned officer, he supervised the unit's preparation of correspondence, records, forms, reports, and orders, according to his discharge papers.

His passion for aviation continued when he returned from the service, when he owned and flew several airplanes for many years. A Cessna 150 was his favorite.

After his military service, Mr. Cohen graduated from Temple University in 1951. He worked for his family's business, Porto Rico Beverage Co., a soda bottling businesses in Philadelphia.

Mr. Cohen began a career in the duplication-machine and photocopier industry by working as a copier salesman.

When he became one of Bell & Howell's top salesmen in the early 1970s, he was approached by Canon with the opportunity to own and operate his own dealership.

Key Business Systems Inc. in Center Square, Montgomery County, founded in 1975, became a successful Canon photocopier and facsimile machine sales and service operation. He retired in 1988.

In 1959, Mr. Cohen married Sonia Seiderman. They had one child and moved from Cheltenham to Ambler in 1965. The couple also maintained homes in Jupiter, Fla., and Margate, N.J.

Mr. Cohen and his family visited countries on six continents, including China, Australia, Morocco, Russia, and Chile. His favorite was a photo safari to Kenya in 1978. "We saw every animal imaginable," said his son, Richard E.

Mr. Cohen also was an avid gardener, growing fruits and vegetables that he was only too happy to give away. "He grew strawberries when I was in fifth grade," his son said. "When they were ripe, my mom would package them, and I would sell them to the neighbors for 25 cents a box."

Long after he sold his Cessna 150, Mr. Cohen indulged his passion for flying by building balsa wood model airplanes. He was patient and determined, and a stickler for detail, traits needed to craft the intricate airplane replicas, his son said.

In addition to his wife and son, Mr. Cohen is survived by two grandchildren; a sister; a niece; and two nephews.

Graveside funeral services are planned for 3 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 19, at Roosevelt Memorial Park, 2701 Old Lincoln Highway, Trevose.

Donations may be made to Abington Hospice at Warminster, 225 Newtown Rd., Warminster, Pa. 18974.


bcook@phillynews.com

610-313-8102

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