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Carolyn (Steves) Cogan

November 18, 1935 ~ April 4, 2021 (age 85)


Carolyn Cogan, beloved mother, grandmother, sister, wife, daughter, aunt, and friend, died on Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021 surrounded by her three loving daughters at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Camden, New Jersey after a brief illness. She was 85 years old.

Born in 1935 in Syracuse, New York to John and Jessie Steves, Carolyn Marie Steves was the eldest of three children. She proved early on her spirited nature and love of learning and, inspired by her fascination with science and her own mother’s nursing career, excelled as a private Catholic school student, put herself through nursing school at Crouse-Irving Hospital, and earned a degree as a registered nurse. She was proud of this accomplishment and told her daughters her years of nursing training were some of her happiest. She worked in a range of capacities, as a nurse for children at a summer camp and as a charge nurse at Lakeside Nursing Home in Ithaca, New York, but her favorite was obstetrics. She loved helping deliver babies.

While still in nursing school, she met Stewart Cogan on a blind date arranged by mutual friends. His arch sense of humor and mischief charmed her instantly, and they married less than a year later in September 1958, eventually settling in Trumansburg, New York, where they raised their three daughters and lived for more than 30 years. 

Carolyn was an engaged and generous mother, unfailingly supportive of her children, volunteering in various roles, from elementary school room mother to religious education teacher. She shared an unshakable bond with her sister, put family above all else, and imbued her household with a sense of creativity, adventure, and fun, gifting her children a panoply of treasured memories. She loved animals and was easily persuaded to acquire over the years a menagerie of pets, from puppies, parakeets and rabbits to ducks, a hamster, and even a horse and pony. But she also imbued her household with a sense of civic duty, inspiring her children to appreciate the importance of political engagement and to embrace her values of charity, social justice, and compassion toward others. And, as a mother of three in the 1960s, she taught her young daughters they could be anything they wanted to be.

After relocating to Westmont, New Jersey, in 1996, she pursued a lifelong interest in art, an avocation in which she passionately engaged for more than 20 years. For inspiration, she turned to what she found most beautiful – flowers, birds, the beach - but especially her beloved grandchildren. She filled her home with art, and every wall became a visual feast. A student of Norma Chankin’s Fine Art Studio for several years, she exhibited her work locally, with other members of the close-knit group.  

An avid reader, Carolyn stacked her floor-to-ceiling shelves with books and covered wide literary ground, devouring popular and classic fiction, memoir, biography, history, and other genres. She was an armchair historian: World War II was a favorite subject. She loved opera, Sinatra, and classic film. She remained politically engaged throughout her life, donating faithfully to social causes for which she was passionate – children’s medical research, gun control, Holocaust remembrance, and others.

Carolyn was preceded in death by her husband of nearly 37 years, Stewart, and her brother, John Steves. She is survived by her daughters, Elizabeth Cogan (Daniel Kohan) of Washington, DC, Leslie Prunty (Stephen) of Ithaca, New York, and Tracy Cogan (Peter Sanchez) of Westmont, New Jersey; her sister, Sr. Sue Ann Steves, IHM, of Scranton, PA; her grandchildren, Olivia, Jessica, and Peter Sanchez; and dozens of relatives and friends throughout New York, New Jersey, and elsewhere across the country.

Calling hours will be held on Thursday, April 8 from 5:00pm to 7:00pm at the Ness-Sibley Funeral Home in Trumansburg, New York. A Mass of Christian Burial will take place on Friday, April 9, 2021 at 11:00am at St. James Catholic Church in Trumansburg.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider a donation in Carolyn’s memory to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Giffords PAC (in support of gun safety) or a similar organization of your choice.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Carolyn (Steves) Cogan, please visit our floral store.


April 8, 2021

5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Ness-Sibley Funeral Home
23 South Street
Trumansburg, NY 14886

Funeral Mass
April 9, 2021

11:00 AM
St. James the Apostle Catholic Church (Trumansburg)

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