Joan Eagle Clouser Cohen

December 21, 2019

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

– 2 Corinthians 4:18

Joan Eagle Clouser Cohen, of White River Junction, Vermont (formerly of Brookline, Massachusetts), died in her home on December 21, 2019, at age 90.

She was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Duke and Harriett Clouser of New Bloomfield.

She was the wife of the late Phin Cohen, of Brookline, Massachusetts. She is survived by sons Roger, of Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, and his wife Amy, Eric, of Baltimore, Maryland, and his wife Miriam, Joshua, of Boston, Massachusetts; daughters Julia, of Havertown, Pennsylvania, and Emily, of Norwich, Vermont, and her husband Rob; grandchildren Samuel Cohen, Alexander Cohen, Rachel Cohen, Daniel Cohen, Isaac Cohen, Madeleine Cohen, Lisa Cohen, Esther Cohen, Gregory Robben, Nicholas Robben, Keith Robben, Lia Robben, and Eleanor van Aalst.

She graduated from Goucher College in 1951, majoring in English and History. After marrying Phin Cohen in 1952 they lived on several air bases in the deep South where her husband was a flight surgeon in the U.S. Air Force. In 1955, she and her family moved to the Boston area. In 1966, she and her husband made the momentous decision to move the family to the Netherlands for a three-year sabbatical. Already known as someone with a fiercely independent streak, living in Holland brought out the intrepid adventurer in her. She and her family returned to Boston in 1969.

While she relished the traditional role of loving mother and wife, at the same time she carved out space for a career of her own as a successful entrepreneur. Starting in 1973, she connected the global academic community through her original homestay program called At Home in Boston. She placed thousands of students, researchers, and doctors, from over 100 countries in homestays throughout the Boston area. In 1973, she could not have known that aspects of her unique business model would be the foundation in the next century of a multi-billion dollar enterprise (AirBnB).

Joan Cohen exemplified the values of kindness, generosity, hard work, honesty, and thrift. Devoted to her children and grandchildren, but also environmental causes and international dialogue, she set a shining example of how to be a good person.

Services will be held at graveside, in New Bloomfield, Pennsylvania. A memorial service will be held in the Boston area in the summer of 2020.


Graveside service in New Bloomfield, Pennsylvania.

Memorial service to be held in Boston in Summer 2020.

Leave Your Condolences

& Share Memories