Harvey Cohen: 1949-2020

Harvey Cohen wanted the truth. He sought it – nay, demanded it – and was willing to be patient to get it.

Cohen was born in San Bernardino (Calif.) and graduated from San Bernardino High School in 1967. Not sure of much about his upbringing, but he was a freelance sports writer for The Sun Newspaper starting in the 1990s.

Harvey loved sports and writing and paired them well. He asked insightful questions and got good quotes. He wrote stories that begged to be read. Then he got back out there time and again to continue to tell the truth, ‘because the truth is all there is,’ he would say.

Harvey loved baseball, basketball, boxing, football and even appreciated soccer. Coaches liked him because he was chummy enough to seem enthusiastic, honest to a fault, and daring enough to carry his own style. We liked him because he was a brilliant conversationalist and had quips for every occasion.

He famously walked around in loafers, khaki pants and bowling or Hawaiian shirts – even championing the look – and always sought that tangible moment or feeling others may have missed.

Harvey owned a thrift store in San Bernardino for the better part of two decades. He was a collector of clothing, sporting goods, electronics and neighborhood eclectics. His store became a home-away-from-home for groups of people from all walks of life, and even took on a life of its own when a troop of local teens adopted the store – and Harvey – for use in a Super-8 film or two.

He wrote stories for InlandFieldhouse.com. Great ones. Maybe his best were about boxing. His piece on Riverside’s Chris Arreola giving it one more shot is just classic stuff, and his profile on Moreno Valley’s Mikey Lopez striking out on his own might be the best on the boxer to date. Search for his pen name – ‘Harvey Kahn’ – on this site. There are several terrific works, including a piece on then-recently retired Yucaipa HS baseball coach Jeff Stout.

Harvey liked to help people, liked to learn about people, and that’s probably what drove his interest in local politics. He attended city council meetings and railed against the ineptness of government to meet the needs of the people.

In his final years he spent considerable effort fighting against the City of Yucaipa and its not-so-carefully planned expansion. He did not like how quickly projects were going up nor how the bidding processes were conducted, and was not afraid to let city leaders – now much younger than himself – hear what he had to say.

Right now, we’re wishing we could hear a little bit more of what he had to say.

One Response to “Harvey Cohen: 1949-2020”
  1. Brian Robin says:

    Harvey Cohen was a mentor of sorts of mine growing up. His parents, Dave and Mildred, were two of the kindest people in the world. They were good friends of my dad and aunt and uncle and I can remember dinners with them.

    In 1977, Harvey was the coach for my Arrowhead LL Major League Giants. He was the “good cop” to our “bad cop” manager, but Harvey knew his stuff and knew how to relate it.

    My dad told me Harvey went to Cal State Fullerton, where I ended up years after he did. Like me, Harvey tried breaking into the “big time, but never could get that break. He worked as a page at Universal and freelanced for various pubs, as you noted.

    I remember his thrift store, but we lost touch as I grew up and our parents died off. On Mother’s Day, I walked by his parents’ gravesite at the Pioneer Memorial Park on 9th and Sierra — one of the oldest Jewish cemeteries west of the Mississippi. They are buried not far from my mother.

    What I regret to this moment is I somehow never crossed paths with him during both of our writing careers. We had plenty of catching up to do that will have to wait until the afterlife.

    RIP Harvey. You did what all writers want to do. You left a mark.

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