Cleveland mayor passes after long battle with cancer

File photo: Mayor Otis Cohn and Mary Merrill Cohn were happy to be a part of the festivities for the Greater Cleveland Chamber of Commerce's annual membership gala on Friday, Jan. 25, 2019, at the Cleveland Civic Center.

Cleveland Mayor Otis Cohn succumbed to cancer Friday night at his home in Cleveland. He was 62.

He received a police escort from his home in Tanglewood Subdivision to Pace-Stancil Funeral Home where arrangements for his funeral will be made later today.

Cohn, a longtime attorney in Cleveland, served as mayor for three years and previously was a city councilman for four years. He was married to the love of his life, Mary Merrill Cohn, the director of Austin Memorial Library. He was the son of Malcolm and Sadie Cohn and was the brother of Cleveland attorney Mollie Lambert.

Cohn was a champion for Cleveland, even in the last months of his life when the disease was ravaging his body. In December, and while knowing his prognosis was grim, he remained committed to representing the city in a positive way – wearing a Santa costume for Shop With a Cop and taking part in the Hometown Christmas parade.

Cohn encouraged people to share the good news of Cleveland and coined the phrase, “If you know about it, crow about it.”

In honor of his lengthy service to the community, flags on city properties will be flown at half-staff for several days.

Carolyn McWaters, mayor pro tem, issued the following statement about his passing:

“Yesterday evening, Cleveland lost its beloved mayor, Otis Cohn, after his lengthy illness. Over the years, Mayor Cohn faithfully served the citizens of our city as both city councilman and mayor. Mayor Cohn has been instrumental in leading our transformational progress over the last several years, and his leadership and friendship will be missed by all of us.”

Bluebonnet News will post funeral information for Mayor Cohn as soon as it becomes available.


  1. Deepest sympathy – Thank You Otis for your dedication and leadership. May perpetual light shine upon your memory.
    Maxine & Randy Zeringue

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