September 2, 2009

Ralph A. Cohen

Ralph A. Cohen was the criminal defense attorney that everybody knew in Jewish Montreal in the 1950’s. He’d ride in his Cadillac Eldorado convertible up Cote Ct Luc blvd with his bald shaved head and always stopped for hitchhikers. He represented Harry Ship, our local Jewish gangster, who ran a gambling place over the Yang Tse chinese restaurant on Van Horne. Andy Ship, my brother’s friend was Harry’s nephew which gave Andy some extra cachet although he probably didn’t need it – Andy was a pretty cool dude on his own. Ralph A. Cohen advertised in the Montreal Gazette when no lawyer advertised. My brother got Ralph A Cohen to represent him and his friend Jake when they got busted at Eatons for something.cigar


  1. cool!

    Comment by joey — September 8, 2009 @ 12:36 pm

  2. Ralph looked a little like the guy in the photo, but I don’t think that’s Ralph. Ralph had a rounder face and light blue eyes.

    Comment by bill — June 19, 2011 @ 1:07 pm

  3. no that’s not a photo of ralph – do you have one? how’d you know him?

    Comment by Murray — June 19, 2011 @ 5:29 pm

  4. Interesting reading. My mother was Ralph’s personal secretary from 1955 until her retirement in 1972. He was an interesting man with a heart of gold. The stories my mother would tell about what went on in that office! That is not a picture of him. I had a picture of Ralph and my mother but it has been lost over the years. His office was on the second floor of the Phillips Square Building opposite what was then Morgan’s. I think he moved to the Dominion Square Building in the late 1960’s. He ran for mayor of Montreal in 1962 but didn’t really stand much of a chance against Jean Drapeau.

    Comment by Keith Clark — August 14, 2016 @ 8:26 pm

  5. too bad you don’t have the photo –

    Comment by Murray — August 22, 2016 @ 5:36 pm

  6. It’s nice to keep Ralph in our memories, but that is not a picture of him. I think Murray Meyer is talking about the same Ralph A Cohen, but some of the details are incorrect. Ralph’s convertible was not a Cadillac. It was a blue Chevrolet with white interior that he bought from his friend Harold Cummings on the east side of Decarie on Jean Talon. Ralph bought all of his cars from Harold, so they were all Chevrolets. He never drove a Cadillac. His biggest car was the Oldsmobile 98, also dark blue. Ralph’s law office was on the second floor of 1255 Phillips Square. He did criminal law but most of his cases were immigration and divorce. I only worked in his office for a short while in 1971 but we lived together from 1971 until 1974 and we stayed close until his passing in 1990. I also knew Ralph’s personal secretary and he was extremely distraught when she became ill in 1972. While it is true that Ralph would always stop to give someone a lift if he knew them, he never picked up hitch-hikers. He had a rule about that.

    Comment by Balgran — March 24, 2018 @ 11:35 am

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