Gerald L. Cohn of Aventura, FL and Doylestown, PA passed away at his home in Doylestown on July 14, 2014 at the age of 85. Mr. Cohn founded and built several successful businesses, and will be remembered not only for his success in business, but also for the significant influence he had on the financial and personal success of many others in finance, healthcare, real estate and other business sectors. Born in 1929 in Easton, Pennsylvania, Mr. Cohn founded his first major company, Nautilus Industries, in 1960 after having worked for family-owned Cohn’s Kitchens. Nautilus pioneered the development and manufacturing of the non-vented kitchen range hood. Following the sale of Nautilus Industries to the Tappan Company in 1964, Mr. Cohn founded Agmet Inc., a large recycler of precious metals, scrap steel, petroleum products and other materials. An Agmet subsidiary, Scrap Metal Processing in Opa-locka, Florida pioneered the use of the Hammermill automobile shredder to recycle scrap steel, copper and other materials. In 1980, Agmet was sold to the French Conglomerate Empain Schneider.
In the decades that followed the sale of Agmet, Mr. Cohn was a private investor and dedicated much of his life to helping others build successful businesses. The wisdom and knowledge he accumulated, along with his credibility and reputation in the business world and financial markets, made his contributions invaluable. His personal dedication to success and integrity earned him an exceptional friendship and working relationship with the late Jay Pritzker, along with many other business luminaries. Mr. Cohn also served on the Board of Trustees for the Scripps Research Institute for several years.
Mr. Cohn’s dedication to helping others extended beyond the business world to philanthropic efforts. He co-founded the Hannah S. Cohn and Samuel A. Cohn Memorial Foundation in memory of his parents, which for twenty years consistently made significant financial contributions to Jewish charities and other causes based in the Pennsylvania region where he was born.
His wife, Florence Smerconish, and two daughters, Shelley Cohn Schmidt and Cindy Cohn Hierbaum, survive Mr. Cohn, along with four grandchildren, Clayton and Blake Schmidt and Samuel and Molly Starr, brother Martin Cohn, sister Marilyn Bergstein, and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Mr. Cohn’s memory to the Hannah S. Cohn and Samuel A. Cohn Memorial Foundation in care of Rhonda Lescowitch, National Penn Investors Trust Company, 12 E. Broad Street, Hazleton, PA 18201. Funeral services will be held July 16 at 11am at Agudas Israel Synagogue in Hazleton, PA . Shiva will be held from July 17 through July 20 at the residence of Shelley & Bennett Schmidt, 31 W. 93rd Street, #1C, NYC