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Rachel Cozen, 97, Dies; Came to U.S. on Promise

January 20, 1985

Rachel Cozen, who at 17 told a matchmaker in Potok, Poland, that she would marry the man he selected on the condition that her prospective bridegroom take her to America, died Saturday. She was 97.

Shortly after the marriage, Harry Cozen emigrated to Canada. A year later he sent for his wife.

Cozen operated a general store in St. Adele, Quebec, and later owned a Montreal soft drink factory. In 1922 he fulfilled his marriage vow and moved his family to Los Angeles. Three years later he died, leaving his widow with their 11 children, a Boyle Heights home and $8 in the bank.

Refusing charity and welfare, the older children worked various jobs to keep the family afloat. Three of the Cozen boys worked at the Los Angeles Times during the late 1920s and early 1930s, stuffing newspapers in the circulation department.

Rachel Cozen had a hard and fast house rule: "My five sons will graduate from university." They did. Four of them, John, Lewis, Robert and Harold, became Los Angeles doctors. Donald spent his career as a Navy electronics engineer.

When Harry and Rachel Cozen moved to Boyle Heights, they and a few other Jewish families established the Houston Street Synagogue, now a Latino Christian church that still has the Star of David over its main entrance. Rachel Cozen was widely known and active in Jewish affairs in Southern California for 60 years, up until the time of her death.

Besides her four sons, she leaves four daughters, Ann Temkin, Esther Cooper, Ruth Snyder and Reva Marcus, 34 grandchildren, 37 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren. In recent years she lived in West Los Angeles.

Orthodox services were conducted Sunday not far from Rachel Cozen's old Boyle Heights neighborhood, as she wished, at the Home of Peace Cemetery in East Los Angeles where burial took place.

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