Veterinarian, champion shooter and life-loving cowboy known as the Durango Kid Larry Cohen died from a heart attack suffered Monday morning in his Durango-area home. He was 66.
Known to clients as Dr. Larry, Cohen owned and operated the Bakers Bridge Veterinary Clinic north of Durango, near the Bar D Chuckwagon, where he did regular work on the supper shows animals.
He was a great person and a great friend, and we all loved him, said Cy Scarborough, proprietor of the Bar D. Thats about all anybody who knew him could say about him.
Lawrence Melvin Cohen was born Sept. 17, 1943, to Rose and Harry Cohen in St. Louis, where he attended Hebrew primary school. He went on to the University of Missouri, where he received his bachelors degree and his doctorate of veterinary medicine in 1968.
He moved to Colorado that year to serve his medical residency at Colorado State Universitys College of Veterinary Medicine.
He moved to the Los Angeles area in 1969 to practice medicine. He owned and operated the Woodcliff Animal Hospital in Chatsworth, Calif., from 1976 until 1991.
While living in California, he took frequent hunting trips to Colorado. He purchased a cabin near Bakers Bridge in 1986 and moved to Durango full-time in 1991.
The next year he opened a veterinary office near his cabin, where he provided care for animals primarily small animals until his death. He also ran low-cost vaccination clinics at Basin Co-op in Durango for many years.
While living in California, Mr. Cohen helped found the Single Action Shooting Society, a cowboy shooting organization that today claims nearly 100,000 members around the world. Members are required to select cowboy nicknames; Mr. Cohen chose The Durango Kid to honor the classic Western character and the city he loved.
Even when he lived in California, he loved Durango, said his wife Kristi Nelson Cohen.
He served on the organizations leadership board the Wild Bunch from 1987-1992. He placed as a World Champion Shootist in both 1991 and 2001, and won numerous other shooting awards, including Colorado Mounted Champion in 1998.
He and his quarter horse, Rebel, were regulars in Durangos parades and the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad mock train robberies. He once rode Rebel right up to the bar in the Handlebars Saloon in Silverton, at the bar owners request.
Family and friends remember that Mr. Cohen had a passion for the outdoors and the Rocky Mountains, and loved living in Southwest Colorado.
At the clinic, we have been getting so many phone calls, his wife said. He was really well-loved as a veterinarian, and we hope to keep Bakers Bridge Veterinary Clinic open to honor him.
Mr. Cohen is survived by his wife of 10 years, Kristi Nelson Cohen, sons, Jeff Michaels Cohen of Windsor and Todd Cohen of Chatsworth, Calif., and daughter Katelyn Cohen of Tucson. He also is survived by his brother Donald Cohen of Cape Coral, Fla., and two granddaughters.
Mr. Cohen also was married to Karen Bollier for 19 years and Sheraine Ruth for six years.
A private memorial and gravesite service was held on Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2010, at Hermosa Cemetery. The mountainside ceremony was officiated by Congregation Har Shalom affiliate Eli Herb with live music by the Bar D Wranglers, which concluded the service with Roy Rogers Happy Trails.
Memorial contributions may be made in Mr. Cohens name to the Roy Rogers Happy Trails Childrens Foundation, 10755 Apple Valley Road, Apple Valley, CA 92308, or online at www.happytrails.com.