Dvora Cohen, 67, of Wendell died Jan. 11, 2021 at home from pancreatic cancer. She was born in the Bronx, New York on Oct. 7, 1953. The daughter of Herbert and Bessie (Axelrod) Cohen, Dvora attended the High School of Performing Arts in N.Y.C. and Mount Vernon High School, where her father was a woodshop teacher.
At Performing Arts, Dvora was introduced to costume making which began a lifelong love of fabric and clothing making. This led to a career as a handweaver and craftsperson, selling her work locally as well as in Boston, New York City, and Baltimore. Initially a self-taught weaver, she began selling her work in the early 70’s. In 1984, Dvora obtained the recognition of Master Weaver at Hill Institute in Florence MA. Dvora was a weaver, spinner of yarn, a knitter, and became a teacher of those subjects. She wrote a knitting column for the West County News.
Dvora was passionate about gardening, saving seeds, canning and freezing vegetables from her homestead garden. She sold herbs and perennials at the Williamsburg, Shelburne Falls, and Greenfield farmers markets. For almost a decade she helped create English cottage gardens around the Pioneer Valley with Nina Newington, who brought her skills here from England. Dvora offered seed saving workshops, sharing her love of seeds and plants and the growing world.
Seeking a more regular income, Dvora enrolled in the nursing program at GCC and graduated with an associates degree in 2002 at the age of 49. She worked at Mercy Hospital and then became a hospice nurse. She helped found Hospice of Franklin County. In 2012, Dvora received her BS in nursing from Umass, and worked for the last five years of her career as a school nurse at Whately Elementary School.
Dvora always tried to make the world a little bit better. She served as a Brownie leader, sat on the board of the Valley Community Land Trust and Friends of the Wendell Library. She volunteered her time with the Center for New Americans. She was a member of the Wendell Council on Aging and Wendell Conservation Commission. Most recently she put her sewing skills to use in an effort to help provide masks to everyone in Wendell.
Dvora leaves her best friend and husband, Stephen Broll; a son Micah Surprenant and wife Kelly, daughter Willow (Cohen) Sirum and husband Ben; step-daughter Audrey Broll and partner Justin Garofano. She also leaves grandchildren Kona Surprenant and Lillian “Lily” Sirum. Her extended family includes Mary Louise Broll and wife Sharon Povinelli and their two sons Samuel and Benjamin Hastings, David Broll and wife Sharon and their daughter Tess, and Dvora’s cousin Susan Axelrod.
Dvora is predeceased by her parents, a brother Jeffery, and Ginger, the best dog in the world.
Due to the pandemic, a Celebration of Life will be held at a future date. Dvora and Stephen would like to cast a wide net of thanks to all of our family and friends who supported us with their gestures of love, big and small. A special thanks to the group of our Wendell friends who provided meals for over 2 years. Donations may be made in Dvora’s memory to the Leverett Village Co-op, 180 Rattlesnake Gutter Rd., Leverett, MA 01054.
Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Smith-Kelleher Funeral Home.
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