Willie Cohen left legacy
of poignant quotations

Jul 11, 2006 3:49 AM

There are few areas Willie Cohen didn’t grace in his 98 years of life, leaving each much the better.

"I found Willie to be a good guy, a great boxing fan and a person who loved Las Vegas," said boxing’s Gene Kilroy. "When Mike Tyson held his last boxing press conference, he used a couple of great Willie quotes.

"Don’t let your heart rule your mind," was something Tyson took to heart, according to Kilroy. "He also remembered Willie telling him, ”˜Old too soon, smart too late.’"

In boxing, Cohen once fought as a flyweight and later managed Tony Canzoneri, Fighter of the Year in 1934 and member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Cohen and Canzoneri also partnered a restaurant in Montreal along with a bar and grill in New York.

Cohen served in Burma and India during World War II. In his Las Vegas years, he became the first to install spas and wedding chapels in hotels, one being at Jay Sarno’s Circus Circus.

Cohen also was an entrepreneur, dining frequently with entertainment figures such as Jackie Leonard and Jack Gordon.

Funeral services for Cohen were held last Thursday at Palm Mortuary on North Main St. He is survived by daughter Karen Goldstein and remaining grandchildren Cedric Steele, Alexandra Cohen and Natasha Alvarez.