Leonard Cohen, Thinking Of His Deceased Sister Esther Two Months Before His Own Death


On September 9, 2016, two months before Leonard Cohen died, I posted A Video Commemoration Of The Life Of Esther Cohen (originally published at my 1HeckOfAGuy.com site) to Cohencentric. The entry features the video I constructed marking the Sept 7, 2014 death of Leonard Cohen’s older sister. That same day, I received this email message from Leonard:


Very touched (understatement) by the video celebrating my sister’s great spirit.

Thank you.


He also attached the photo of Esther and Viva, Lorca Cohen’s daughter, that is now atop this post.

For convenience, I’ve copied the original post and video below.

esther-cobEsther Cohen: A Life Of Enthusiasm

Esther Cohen, Leonard Cohen’s older sister, died Sept 7, 2014. Esther married Victor Cohen. Following a Cuban honeymoon, they traveled extensively, were regulars at plays, concerts, movies, and parties, and lived happily together until Victor’s death 19 years ago, Esther did research for McGill and for Colliers in New York. She was unequivocally enthusiastic about life and beloved by everyone who met her.

Four years ago,1 I was privileged to have been invited by Esther’s close friends, Dick and Linda Straub, to participate in commemorating her birthday. At that time and on a a handful of occasions afterward, I had the chance to talk to Esther by phone on; each time I was charmed anew. While a video celebrating Esther’s birthday may seem incongruent with the announcement of her death, this montage of film and photos, supplied by the Straubs, features Esther at her best, in the midst of those who loved her, some of whom may be recognizable to viewers: Leonard Cohen, Emmylou Harris, Lian Lunson, Perla Batalla with husband Claud and daughter Eva, Kate and Anna McGarrigle, Lily Lankin, Harry and Arlene Rasky, Rufus Wainwright, Martha Wainwright, Leon Wieseltier, Zack Oberzan, Nick Cave, and Santa Claus. There have been a few additions and deletions but the message is still the same – Esther was a delight.



She will be greatly missed.

Esther Cohen: A Life Of Enthusiasm
Soundtrack (chosen by Esther): Leonard Cohen’s Take This Waltz
Video By: Allan Showalter


Credit Due Department: Almost all the images were supplied by Linda and Dick Straub, who also came up with the concept of the video. Originally posted Sept 9, 2014 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric


  1. At time of original posting, Sept 9, 2014 []

Two Photos: A Very Young Leonard Cohen & Sister Esther Visit Westmount Conservatory In Style

lcestconservA Victorian greenhouse built in 1927 by  Lord & Burnham, the Westmount Conservatory was closed in 2015 for repairs. The City of Westmount anticipates the Conservatory will reopen, with a restored roof, in 2018. A well done article about the Conservatory with several photos can be found at The Westmount Conservatory: A Green Oasis, Tucked Away in Montreal by Melanie Guilbault  (The Main: June 11, 2015).

In the photos, Esther is wearing a Red River Coat (these coats were black or very dark blue with a choice of either tomato red or aqua blue for the tuque, sash, mittens and thick stockings) while Leonard is attired in a fur coat.

redcoatconservatory4Thanks to Maarten Massa for access to these images. Originally posted July 16,, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

3 Photos: A Very Young Leonard Cohen, His Sister Esther, & Their Dog Tinky

sail1These photos show a well-turned-out Leonard Cohen with his older sister, Esther, and their Scottish terrier, Tinky (also spelled Tinke),1 at play,



Credit Due Department: Thanks to Maarten Massa for access to these images

  1. More about Tinky at “The Closest Being To Me During My Childhood” – Leonard Cohen Talks About His Dog, Tinky []