June 17, 2024
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Eloise Cohen, a major arts supporter in Thousand Oaks, dies at 73

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There are just a few people in any community who can light up a room, raise money for any cause and elevate arts and culture with grace and style.

Eloise Cohen was one of them. She and her husband Chuck, an attorney and former Thousand Oaks mayor, were the Conejo Valley first couple for many years and the impact she had on Ventura and Santa Barbara counties can be measured in friendships and good deeds as easily as dollars.

Sadly, she passed away in early August, after bravely battling a serious illness for the past year, dying at 73. She graduated from Thousand Oaks High School in 1967.

The angels came calling was the gist of an email Chuck Cohen sent me when I heard about Eloise’s passing.

Eloise was the daughter of a Lutheran pastor, Raymond Olson, who moved the family to Thousand Oaks in the early 1960s when he was named president of California Lutheran University. She grew up with CLU and the community — as buildings went up on campus, Eloise was busily raising funds for the Thousand Oaks Performing Arts Center and other cultural institutions.

I will personally miss her friendship and good humor — her confidence in the Business Times and her respect for our work lifted me up on many occasions.

Sadly, I remember the funeral for her mother, Helen, who lived to be 100 and passed away just a decade ago. It looked like the entire city of Thousand Oaks turned out for that memorial.

The angels may have knocked, but Eloise Cohen was taken from us far too soon.