Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Obituary - ALAN M. KOHN


January 5, 2018

Alan M. Kohn, 87, a devoted husband, father, grandfather and NASA engineer for 30 years, died peacefully on Friday, Dec. 22nd at sunset. He was surrounded by his loving family. 

Alan Kohn was born in Philadelphia, Penn., in the tumultuous year of 1929 on Dec. 28th to the late Betty Giltman and R. Reuben Kohn. He graduated from Penn State University in 1951, where he ran cross-country for the then national championship team. Alan then served in the U.S. Navy as a lieutenant and communications officer for the 6th Fleet during the Korean War and served two additional years in the Reserves. He later went on to receive a Master of Science degree from Florida Institute of Technology. 

In the words of Rabbi Kendall, “Alan was a brilliant man with biocular vision; one eye trained on this temporal world and one eye focused beyond the stars.”  

From a young age, he had a fascination with science fiction and the future exploration of space. So, it was a dream come true when in 1961, President John F. Kennedy announced his intent to “put a man on the moon.” That was the catalyst for his decision to move to Brevard County, home of the Kennedy Space Center, in 1962 with his wife and family. 

Alan had a highly successful and fulfilling career at NASA specializing in ground support, base security and payload management. He witnessed the exploration of the boundaries of earth to the far reaches of space. While there, he received numerous awards for his exceptional work. He was passionate about the space program and its potential to preserve humanity.  

His children often spoke of his encyclopedic knowledge. His love of opera, music, nature and learning were with him until the final weeks of his life. He loved Israel and his faith and was a lifelong student of Judaism and Torah.  

After his retirement, activism became his career. Alan was dedicated in his fight against injustice. When he was diagnosed with early Alzheimer’s, he began in-depth research on ways to alleviate its effects in the hopes of helping all who suffer from this illness. Alan never tired of sharing his knowledge with others. He had a unique sense of humor and wit and was a great punster.  

Alan is survived by his wife of 61 years, Shirley Felderstein Kohn, children, Michelle Kohn; Jay Kohn; and Donna Kohn-Snow; son-in-law, Leslie R. Berghash, M.D .; Michael S. Rubinoff, partner of Donna; and grandchildren Ilana Berghash, Edin Kohn and Golan Kohn. Alan will be sorely missed.

Memorial donations in memory of Alan can be made to the Jewish National Fund, online at http://www.jnf.org, or by mail to: Jewish National Fund, 78 Randall Avenue, Rockville Centre, NY 11570; or to Temple Beit HaYam at 951 SE Monterey Commons Blvd., Stuart, FL 34996 or to a charity or organization of your choice.


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