By Alicia Doyle

The Writer
Specializing in Good News
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108-year-old remembered for her resiliency

Ida Cohn, a volunteer with Meals on Wheels who helped found a Hadassah chapter in Westlake Village, died in her sleep Aug. 13.

She was 108.

"Grandma Ida lived a healthy lifestyle and stayed active and fit physically and mentally," said grandson Steven Weiss, 50, of Davis, adding he has many memories of her swimming, walking and bowling.

Until her last year of life, she regularly played her favorite card game, Kings Corner, he said.

"But her positive outlook and approach to living contributed greatly to her longevity," Weiss said.

She experienced the death of her husband, daughter and son and the loss of her vision and hearing.

"And yet Grandma Ida still went on ... embraced life and didn't dwell on the negative," Weiss said.

Cohn had been staying for nearly two months with another grandson, David N. Weiss, in Los Angeles.

"My wife and I had the privilege of hosting her in our home," he said. "It's too quiet now in our guest room and at the breakfast table and her card chair in the living room."

When his mother was ill upon giving birth to him, "Grandma Ida came and took care of me for the first two weeks of my life," the middle grandson added.

In between, Cohn gave everyone in her extended family love, joy, fun and a fabulous reason to gather for years, David N. Weiss said.

"There was not a more fun lady to hang out with. ... She taught us fishing, boating, cards, baking and rejoicing," he said.

Born Nov. 5, 1905, in Minneapolis, she was the daughter of Romanian Jewish immigrants David and Molly Jacobs. She had six siblings, all of whom she outlived.

She worked as a bookkeeper for a newspaper and magazine distribution company in Minneapolis until her 1931 marriage at age 25 to Isador "Bud" Cohn. They had two children.

Their children later moved to the West Coast and had children of their own, and the Cohns moved to California in 1962 to be closer.

"She and Bud were the first to move into their home in Westlake Village in the early '70s," said Steven Weiss, adding that the Cohns' two children preceded their mother in death.

"As matriarch of the family, Ida is survived by her seven grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren," Steven Weiss said.

Cohn volunteered with Meals on Wheels, delivering to homebound seniors. She also helped found a Hadassah chapter in Westlake Village and received the National Leadership Award honoring Hadassah women across America.

Susan Heller, Cohn's granddaughter, said one of her grandmother's most impressive qualities was her resiliency.

"Despite losing her husband, both of her children, all of her siblings and so many friends, she stayed so positive," said Heller, of Ventura.

For instance, when Cohn lost her vision, "She was down for about a day and then picked herself up, joined the Braille program and starting helping others with similar conditions," Heller said.

Ventura resident Scott Weiss, 58, attributes his grandmother's longevity to exercise, diet and a positive attitude.

"She was swimming into her 70s, she bowled for many years, and she continued to exercise and walk with a walker until a few days before she died," he said. "She was very accepting of life. I will remember her love and joy for life the most."

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