The ACLU of Ohio staff and board of directors were saddened to learn of the passing of board member and central Ohio ACLU activist Jerry Cohn on June 29, 2009.

Jerry was a thoughtful and fiercely dedicated civil libertarian. He cared about the rights of the young and the old and had a special interest in developmentally disabled and mentally ill persons. He was devoted to us and many social justice efforts; he always introduced himself as a social worker.

Jerry joined the ACLU board of directors in 2007, bringing his wisdom and considerable experience in non-profit leadership to the service of civil liberties. Previously he had been active with the ACLU Columbus working group, and in 2008 began volunteering with the newly-opened ACLU regional office in Columbus.

He brought the outlook of a lifelong progressive activist to his ACLU work, often sharing his fundraising and grassroots organizing expertise. He served on the Ohio Civil Rights Commission and was a commissioner of Ohio Legal Rights Service. He volunteered with groups whose missions reflected his own personal values, such as health (Alzheimer's Association), community (Columbus Metropolitan Library) and religion/culture (Tifereth Israel Synagogue and Opera Columbus). He also assisted with grassroots organizing for NAMI, a mental health advocacy group. Jerry also volunteered as a mentor with Columbus public schools. And he served as a member of the Board of the Columbus Metropolitan Library.

His civil liberties concerns ran strongly toward protecting privacy and church/state separation, and he held a strong belief in the democratic process.

We will miss Jerry’s wisdom, leadership, and unique life perspective. We extend our sympathies to his family and friends.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are preferred to the Columbus Metropolitan Library or to the ACLU of Ohio Foundation.

Read the obituary in The Columbus Dispatch.