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Family is Cohen’s proudest accomplishment

Jack Cohen, CEO and president of Butler County Tourism & Convention Bureau, poses with his wife Janine and their family. Shown, from left, are daughter-in-law Stephanie Cohen, grandsons Zachary and Benjamin, son Jonathan Cohen, Jack Cohen and wife Janine, son-in-law Matt Irvin, granddaughter Annabelle, daughter Julie Irvin, grandson Jack, daughter Jaclyn Gaus, granddaughter Rosalie, son-in-law Brandon Gaus and grandson Eli. Submitted photo

Jack Cohen, a man of many titles, has poured his life and passion into various projects, many of which have positively impacted the lives of people worldwide.

Yet with all of his accomplishments, one project in particular has changed the lives of 13 people forever. This project, nearly 50 years in the making, has given him the titles of father, husband and grandpa.

When Jack was just 20 years old, he met his wife, Janine, while singing in a local choir. Janine said his outgoing personality and humor drew her to him, and the rest is history.

The couple would go on to have three children, and all would grow up to be successful adults with families of their own.

Jack and Janine's first child, Jonathan, owns SIX59 Media. He and his wife, Stephanie, are raising two boys of their own.

Jonathan said his dad's most significant accomplishment is his family. He continued to describe their close-knit relationship.

“Three kids and six grandchildren, and we all see each other nearly every day,” he said.

Jack Cohen is pictured with his grandchildren, from left, Rosalie, Annabelle, Zachary, Jack, Benjamin and Eli. Submitted photo

The oldest daughter of the Cohen family, Julie Irvin, has two children with her husband, Matt, and works in the pharmaceutical industry.

Jaclyn Gaus, the youngest daughter of Jack and Janine, is an elementary school teacher for North Allegheny School District. She is mother to two children and a partner to her husband, Brandon.

Janine recalled her favorite memories of motherhood — all of which included moments when their children and grandchildren were together.

When describing Jack as a father and partner, two words came to the forefront of Janine’s mind: “The best.”

While it’s not uncommon for siblings to hold differing opinions of their parents, when it comes to the Cohen children, their love and admiration for their father is mutually agreed upon. Each speaks of Jack’s passion, generosity, work ethic and ability to enjoy life in the moment.

When asked about their dad’s most significant accomplishment, Julie, Jonathan and Jaclyn all said the same thing: his family.

“Through everything life has thrown his way, family has been core,” Julie said. “My dad has never had a job he didn't love, yet he never let us, as his children, feel second to his work.”

“Anyone who has worked for or with my dad probably knows it’s not easy. He has high expectations, but he will be the first one there cheering you on and making you laugh along the way.” Julie continued. “I would not be who I am today without the lessons I learned from him.”

Jaclyn also spoke of her father’s impact on her life, admiring how he would lead by example.

“I remember my dad telling me to find a career I love. He inspired me to find my passion, which has led me to teaching,” she said. “He taught us to embrace and celebrate people’s differences.”

“I learned to be courageous from watching my dad. I saw him open Safari Sam’s and transform Butler County because he isn’t afraid to take risks,” Jaclyn said. Her father’s legacy in Butler County, she said, is the same as his legacy in their family: “the importance of fun.”

Layla Joseph is a marketing and media assistant with the Butler County Tourism & Convention Bureau.

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