Takoma Park Councilmember Kay Daniels-Cohen Dies at Age 71 (PHOTOS)

Kay Daniels-Cohen in Ward 3

Kay Daniels-Cohen
Photo | Takoma Park

With deep sadness, the City of Takoma Park announced the death of Ward 3 Councilmember Kay Daniels-Cohen (71) on February 20.

According to a city news release, she died after a long and vigorous battle with cancer.

“Her positive vitality through her illness was awe-inspiring as she worked hard to serve her constituents despite suffering the effects of cancer and cancer treatments,” the city’s release said. “Her lively presence at Council meetings, relentless optimism and civic pride will be missed greatly by her fellow Councilmembers, residents and staff.”

Kay Daniels-Cohen was elected to the City Council in November 2011 and was reelected in November 2013. She described herself as a “home grown” phenomenon. Her parents moved to Takoma Park in 1946 and she attended Takoma Park Elementary, Takoma Park Junior High, Montgomery Blair High School, the University of Maryland and West Virginia University. A park in Takoma Park near her home is named for her mother, Opal Daniels.

Kay Daniels-Cohen at council meetingKay was a vocal advocate for Takoma Park and her contributions to civic life are numerous. She re-established the SS Carroll Neighborhood Association as a powerful and viable neighborhood association. She was named Activist of the Year 2009 by the Takoma Foundation and The Takoma Voice for her contributions to better the quality of life for Takoma Park residents and outstanding civic leadership. Her professional background in recreation led to her promotion of recreation in all its forms. At Council meetings, she was known for giving out “Gold Stars” to local businesses, city staff, and event coordinators for doing things that contributed to the Takoma Park she loved.

“Kay was the quintessential booster of all things Takoma Park,” noted Mayor Bruce Williams. “No one was more interested in making sure that everyone, especially kids, knew about and took advantage of all of the opportunities around them. She expressed joy and enthusiasm about everything in the world around her. She valued her time on the City Council, and we all appreciate her efforts to make this city a better place.”

Recreation Director Gregory Clark said:  “Kay had a special commitment to recreation and a love of people which we will surely miss. Her work ethic, ‘can do’ spirit and positive demeanor led the way in support of many of the City’s programs and services such as the Winter Basketball League, the annual Egg Hunt and Monster Bash, the re-opening of the Piney Branch Pool, Independence Day Parade and youth garden.”

Kay Daniels-Cohen is survived by her husband Jack Cohen and brother Buddy Daniels.

Information on funeral arrangements will be posted on the City of Takoma Park’s website when available.

City officials said the Feb. 24 City Council meeting will be kept short, followed by an opportunity for residents to share their thoughts about Kay at the podium. In addition, residents who wish to share “Kay stories” and photos may want to post them on a special Facebook page that has been created.

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