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Gerard Cohan

by Susan J. Ainsworth
April 7, 2014 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 92, Issue 14

Gerard Cohan, 96, a retired BF Goodrich Chemical researcher, died at his home in Cleveland on Nov. 5, 2013.

Born in South Boston, Cohan earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Harvard University in 1939.

He then joined Goodrich in Akron, Ohio, where one of his first assignments was developing self-sealing fuel tanks for military aircraft. He continued this work in the Army during World War II.

After the war, Cohan returned to Goodrich in Akron in 1946 and became deeply involved in the development and sale of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin for pipe and other applications. He developed standards, test methods, and codes for PVC pipe, playing a key role in the company’s emergence as a leader in this business.

Cohan retired in 1981 after 42 years of service to Goodrich. He was an emeritus member of ACS, which he joined in 1942.

He had been an active member of St. Christopher Parish in Rocky River, Ohio, since 1960. He devoted his life to his career as well as to his family, faith, friends, and to mastering the game of golf.

His wife of 70 years, Helen, died this January. He is survived by daughters, Kathleen Bruening, Patricia Leipold, Mary, and Margaret; sons, Thomas and Michael; and 17 grandchildren. He was preceded in death by a grandson.

Obituary notices of no more than 300 words may be sent to Susan J. Ainsworth at and should include an educational and professional history.


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