University of Michigan Museum of Zoology

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Ted Cohn In Memoriam


Ted Cohn at UMMZ
photo: Janet Bell

Dr. Theodore J. (“Ted”) Cohn passed away on November 25th after a prolonged illness.  Ted was an Orthopteran (crickets and katydids) specialist and a long-term Adjunct Curator of Insects in the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology (UMMZ). Dr. Cohn received his Ph. D. at the University of Michigan in 1961 and served on the faculty of San Diego State University from 1964-1993, retiring as Professor Emeritus of Biology. He was very active in “The Orthopterists’ Society" – an international scientific organization with 440 members from 60 countries - having served in many capacities, including president. Throughout his academic career, he kept contributing to the UMMZ, adding many thousands of Orthoptera to the collection.

Upon retirement, Ted and his wife Jean, another UMMZ doctoral graduate, split their time between Ann Arbor (May-December) and San Diego (rest of the year) until ill health in recent years forced them to locate permanently in Ann Arbor.   Despite severe sight impairment, rapidly declining health and the loss of Jean in December 2011, Dr. Cohn still came into work almost every day, determined to complete a large collaborative study entitled: Dichopetala and new related North American genera: a study in genitalic similarity in sympatry and genitalic differences in allopatry (Tettigoniidae: Phaneropterinae: Odonturini).  He successfully achieved this goal and the manuscript is currently being prepared for publication.

For many years, Dr. Cohn donated generously to the UMMZ Insect Division, sponsoring the hiring of graduate and undergraduate student assistants for collection development, purchasing supplies and equipment for the collection, supporting visiting specialists, hiring of artists to make drawings of specimens in the Museum collections for eventual publication, publishing papers based on our holdings etc.  He was also a very generous donor for Museum social functions and was an integral and valued part of our museum community.  A gregarious, engaging personality and opera buff, Ted was rarely at a loss for words and always quick to share a joke or an anecdote.  Theodore J. Cohn was that rare entity, a genuine mensch.  He will be sorely missed.