Jack Harvey Cohn, died on April 23rd at the age of 77, after a 48-hour ride on the Hospice
morphine train to paradise.
Those who knew him well will understand how much he would have enjoyed that under
From the beginning, Jack was a religious man and that guided his direction in life.
Ehh… who are we kidding.
We wish that to be the case, but alas, Jack’s grasp of Judaism ranged from using words like
schvitzing and schmuck to putz and meshuganah.
Jack was a Jack of all trades. And, a master of none.
Well, that’s not entirely true, he was a master of two.
And those “two” we’re defined by as who you knew Jack as - The “Vic Tanny” Jack or Jack “the
If you recall, and let’s face it many of you don’t, because, well, you’re old and your memory
probably isn’t that good, but Vic Tanny was a bodybuilder and known as the pioneer of the
modern health club. And he looked the part. Just like Jack. Well sort of. But Jack was a looker
back in the day. Really.
Vic Tanny Jack was a master at playing at softball. Pitching to be exact. And as many of us
Chicagoans know, pitching a 16-inch softball is an art form. Which made him the in-demand
pitcher in the Chicagoland area as evidenced by the fact that he played on multiple teams at
the same time in Chicago, Skokie, Schaumburg and Bloomingdale.
There was even the time when there was a bench clearing brawl when he purposely beaned
Mike Royko in the final game of the Chicago Championship.
Ok… technically that never happened. But let’s be honest, it does make for a better obituary.
He did, however, play against Royko. We think.
Later in life Jack became known as Jack “The Bagel.”
And it wasn’t because he got pale, fat and doughy. Although that did happen.
Which leads us to the other thing Jack was a master at, sports. Or to be more specific, the
probability and statistics of a one sports team winning over another team.
Some might call that oddsmaking.
He could determine an over/under with astounding accuracy, tell you why the Vegas line was a
half point off or what horse was going to win in the fifth at Arlington.
All of this “mastery” led to his relationship with some of Chicago’s more colorful Italian
personalities. Hence the name, Jack “The Bagel.”
People like, Xxxxxxxxxxx, Xxxxxxxxx and Xxxxxxxxxx. And Xxxxxxxxxxxxx.
All of which, eventually led to an xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx with xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx and
xxxxxxxxxxxx, xxxxxxxxxxxx,xxxxxxxxx. Xxxxxxxxxx FBI xxxxxxxxx.
And just a note, The Bagel version of playing softball was not as pretty as the Vic Tanny version.
Oh, he could still pitch great, he just couldn’t make it to first base without having chest pains.
Such are the ravages of time.
Obviously, we can’t be sure, but we’re pretty confident that Jack is in heaven right now, calling
everyone idiots because whatever they’re doing up there, that’s not the way he would be doing
Now, you may be asking why this obituary is an attempt at being funny? Well, if you knew Jack,
you knew that his gift to the world was his sense of humor. And that’s exactly how he would
have written this if it was up to him. He had the uncanny ability of making light of any situation
no matter how difficult the situation was. And that’s what we’ll miss most. Jack is survived by Fran, his wife of 58 years and his sons, Stuart and Brad, Daughter-in-law Bari,his grandchildren Max, Brett and Maria and his great grandson Santino.
The makers of Seagram’s VO, Crown Royal and Vienna Hot Dogs will miss him deeply as well.