Stephanie Cohen was born in 1978 in Philadelphia. Her parents moved to Port Washington, New York when she was two. When she was 14 years old, she moved to New York City to live with her father and attended high school at the Dwight School in Manhattan. Upon her graduation in 1995, Stephanie moved to New Orleans to attend Tulane University. There she studied math and finance, hoping someday to work on Wall Street. After three years, Stephanie decided to take a break from school and moved to Portland, Oregon to help her mother open the restaurant of her dreams, Mother’s Bistro & Bar.
Stephanie worked tirelessly at Mother’s Bistro & Bar and Mama Mia Trattoria (which her mother sold in 2011), starting as a server, then a bartender and finally as a manager. She met her life partner, Jayson, in 2001 while bartending at Mother’s and they had their first child, Isabella in 2003. Their second, Taylor, came soon after in 2004. After working with her mother for over 10 years, Stephanie decided it was time to move on and took a position at another restaurant in 2010.
In 2012, Stephanie gave birth to twin boys, Julian and Oliver. She also extricated herself from the restaurant business and found the job of her dreams as bookkeeper for a local company, West Coast Sailing. She loved to work with numbers and the owner, George, appreciated such a devoted, enthusiastic assistant. Stephanie worked so hard to keep her big family together …she’d get up early to get the twins to day care, made sure the older kids got off to school, worked all day, and then would come home and make dinner whenever time would allow. Her kids loved her cooking and there were definitely some favorites which we’re serving this month.
On May 1, 2016, Stephanie and her family headed out for a hike to Multnomah Falls. When traffic was just too much, the family took a detour to Horsetail Falls instead. After they had hiked up the falls and were on their way down, the older kids ran ahead and Stephanie, Jayson and the twins brought up the rear. As one of the twins got close to the edge of the trail, the ground below him started to crumble; it gave way and Oliver fell down an incline 60 feet. Stephanie’s motherly instinct took over and she went to grab her falling son. She saved Oliver’s life, but lost her own. Stephanie died a heroine and was awarded the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office “Life Saving Award” and the Kiwanis “Courageous Citizen Award” for her selflessness.
This month we honor Stephanie and mothers everywhere who give of themselves tirelessly
and make sacrifices for their families every day.