Clair Cohen (1929-2018)

Clair Cohen

Clair Cohen (1929-2018)

Clair S. Cohen, 88, a longtime Cold Spring resident, died July 25, 2018, in Norwalk, Connecticut. She moved to Connecticut nine years ago to be closer to her daughter, Janice Ferrucci (Leonard), who resides in New Canaan.

She was born Dec. 31, 1929, in Cincinnati, the only child of Waller and Naomi (Youmans) Simpson. Her father worked for Standard Oil and her mother was a secretary and court stenographer for Harold Ickes, who was Secretary of the Interior from 1933 to 1946. From the age of 8 to 14 she lived with her parents in New Zealand.

On May 24, 1952, Clair married Robert Riley. He died in 1963. On July 1, 1984, Clair married William Cohen, who survives her.

Clair lived in Cold Spring for most of her adult life. After managing the Bird & Bottle Inn & Restaurant in Garrison for many years, she earned a master’s degree in nutrition at New York University and became a registered dietitian. She spent the remainder of her career as a professor, director and chair of the Food Service Administration Division at Westchester Community College, where, in 1982, she received a federal grant to renovate the facility from a home-economics kitchen to a state-of-the-art culinary kitchen and lab. She retired in 1991.

Clair was a superb gourmet cook and adored animals, especially dogs. She also was a longtime member of the Philipstown Garden Club, where she served many roles including vice president of the board of directors and horticulture chair. She was a knowledgeable horticulturalist and a gifted flower arranger.

“She always encouraged my sister and me to reach beyond our comfort zone, to work our hardest and give our all to every task we started,” said Jan Ferrucci. “She was kind and possessed grace, dignity and integrity. She was a strong and amazing mother and has given me so many precious, everlasting gifts as to how one should live one’s life. We will miss her immensely.”

Besides her husband, daughter and son-in-law, Clair is survived by her daughter, Jill Riley (Stephen Fotis) of Washington, D.C., and three grandchildren, Lauren Ferrucci, Matthew Ferrucci and Riley Fotis.

A memorial service will be held at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 16, at the Chapel Restoration, 45 Market St., in Cold Spring. Memorial donations may be made to the Westport Humane Society (

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