Joseph J. Cohen, one of the founders of the JUF Uptown Cafe, a longtime board member of CJE SeniorLife and former board member of the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, has died at age 91.
Joe and his wife Beverly played an instrumental role in founding JUF's TOV Volunteer Network and the JUF Uptown Cafe in 1998. From its opening day forward, for many years, the couple volunteered at the cafe every Monday night-always together.
Joe exemplified what it meant to serve up dignity along with supper. Cafe clients often remarked that he made them feel like valued guests, taking their coats and holding out the chair for them to be seated before serving them their meals. Joe reviewed clients' resumes and coached them in how to how to successfully interview for a job. He also mentored younger clients, helping them with their schoolwork after supper.
"After 66 years of marriage, the Cohens were obviously still very much in love. Every time you saw them, they were holding hands," said Anita Denes-Meador, JCC Regional Vice President, City. "Perhaps it's that great love that fueled Joe's great generosity of spirit."