Remembering Dr. Gary Cohen

Published: Jul. 8, 2021 at 8:16 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - It’s been less than 24 hours since officials in Florida confirmed the death of a beloved Tuscaloosa doctor.

The body of 58-year-old Dr. Gary Cohen was pulled from the rubble of a surfside condominium complex that collapsed two weeks ago.

Friends, family, and coworkers are now trying to deal with this loss.

Eyal Ron said they’ve known each other for roughly 20 years meeting through the Jewish community in Mountain Brook, and in that time, they’ve shared a lot of important moments.

Their families attended temple together, spent the holidays together, and have watched their kids grow up together.

Ron said he already misses his dear friend and hopes time will bring healing.

“Life went as normal as any other person in this country and in the split of a second, things changed,” Ron said.

Eyal Ron said the last several days have been excruciating as he waited to learn the fate of his beloved friend.

“It was simmering for two weeks…I mean…looking at the news and the reports from the site is not much of encouragement, but you know…we just hope that time will heal us all… I mean…it’s just an awful situation,” Ron said.

Ron was at home Wednesday night when he received the news. He is still trying to make sense of the fact that his friend of nearly 20 years is gone.

“I can’t even…you know…I don’t think it’s been processed fully yet, so…but to this point in time, we just have to be there for the family and do whatever we can to help them to deal with this…the whole process,” Ron explained.

Ron said the outpouring of love and support from the community has been comforting during this difficult time.

But he wants people to know that his friend’s life was much bigger and more meaningful than this tragedy, and hopes the world will remember him as the caring and loyal friend he’d come to know and love.

“Gary was a very devoted member of the Jewish community and very strong in his Jewish beliefs. Huge heart, such a warm person, always with a smile. He cared so much for his patients professionally and for his friends. He’s just…extremely smart, but easy going and a guy you can joke with and have…and carry a serious conversation at the same time. It will take time. It consumes you, you think about it, you’re trying to focus, and work, and socialize and it’s just…it’s tough,” Ron said.

Ron said adding to the pain of this difficult time is the fact that Dr. Cohen’s brother, Dr. Brad Cohen, is still unaccounted for.

Ron said the family is in the process of making some very tough decisions, including making funeral arrangements.

Those have not been released yet, but Ron anticipates Dr. Cohen’s funeral will be sometime this weekend.

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