Yomma T. Cohen was born on December 22, 1943, in Williamsburg, Virginia to the late Deacon Ananias and Lura B. Johnson. Yomma attended Bruton Heights High School where she earned the nickname “Zippy” for her superior typing skills. After graduating in 1962, she went on to attend Peninsula Business College in Newport News, Virginia, where she earned her Associates Degree in 1964. Upon college graduation, Yomma ventured North to start a new life and career in Washington, DC. She worked at Northwest Settlement House as an Office Manager for several years before joining World Bank in 1976. During her tenure, Yomma worked her way up the ladder as an administrative assistant working in various departments with multiple executives and received several certificates and merit awards along the way. During this time, she met and married her husband and life partner, Herman Cohen. Through this union, she was blessed with nine children whom she embraced with open arms and a welcoming heart. She went on to birth her only child, Brett Cohen, completing their family. They remained happily married for twenty-five years until Herman transitioned in 2002.
Yomma was a woman of faith who accepted Christ at an early age at Chickahominy Baptist Church in Toano, Virginia and devoted her life to serving Christ, her community, and her family. As a young adult everyone could see how natural it was for her to care for others. Her reputation preceded her as a compassionate young woman devoted to service, and this reputation remained with her throughout her life. Her mom would often jokingly call her Mother Theresa or Joan of Arc, because of her unrelenting spirit to advocate for the helpless and lend a hand to those in need. She was a kind woman who dedicated her life to uplifting those around her.
Yomma loved to serve, but she also loved to party! She enjoyed dancing, eating and singing. She was a dedicated member of Andrew Rowe and the DC Choral Ensemble for over 20 years, travelling throughout the East Coast spreading the gospel through song. She also loved going to the movies. She was known to have full conversations with the characters, often yelling at the screen to either warn, chastise, or cheer them on throughout the show. In her older years, she grew fond of Westerns and would sit back and enjoy the view of Clint Eastwood flashing across her screen. These are the simple pleasures that brought her the greatest joy in her latter years.
After retiring in 2000, Yomma became a caregiver to many, including her father and mother. This served as an example for her children and niece, who would later care for her with the same attention and loving touch they saw her show so many others. Yomma was a dedicated wife, mother, sister, aunt, daughter and friend who loved to be around family, so it was only fitting for her to depart this realm in the same manner: peacefully in her home, surrounded by family and love. Yomma went on to be with the Lord on September 17, 2021.
She leaves to cherish her memory her son Brett Cohen (Khaleelah Cohen) and grandchildren Kai Bullock-Cohen, Micah Palmer and Zuri Cohen; eight children in love: Avin Collins, Herman Cohen, Jr., Thomas Cohen, Michelle Thomas (Derozette), Eric Cohen, Jacqueline Sanders, Towanda Mitchell, Juan Vizcarrondo-Fargas (Lanita), and Luis Vizcarrondo-Fargas; her younger siblings Tyrone Johnson (Selda), Vonzola Johnson, Debra Johnson, Sharon Johnson, Berrender Johnson, Rhonda Fox (Maurice), Ryelynn “Tree” Johnson, and sister-in-law Reverend Ann Johnson; many grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins, caring friends and a host of people she’s touched throughout her life.
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