Clinical psychologist Marjorie Cahn loved helping others

The Detroit News

Throughout her life and many pursuits, Marjorie Cahn loved helping and interacting with others.

“Everyone who met her was an instant friend,” said her son, retired federal judge Gerald Rosen.

Mrs. Cahn died Friday, Aug. 18, 2017. She was 89.

For years, the longtime Metro Detroit resident was devoted to behavioral health.

While researching and earning a master’s degree at Wayne State University, Mrs. Cahn helped some children who had been misdiagnosed as having another condition, said her younger sister, Dr. Lucy Goodenday. “Some of them she was able to get out of institutionalization.”

Mrs. Cahn also spent a decade as a clinical psychologist, practicing at Lafayette Clinic in Detroit and Northville Regional Psychiatric Hospital, both now closed, focusing on treating adolescents, relatives said.

She worked in Plymouth schools in the same capacity and welcomed working with youth, her son recalled. “She specialized in childhood development and particularly children with reading disabilities.”

Mrs. Cahn displayed other abilities, as well.

She loved writing and once penned a poem about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy that graced the Oak Park News’ front page, her sister said. “She was a good writer.”

And for years, the mother of three thrived on the tennis court, once winning an Oak Park women’s tennis championship while pregnant, her son said.

“She was very consistent,” Rosen said. “She started me playing when I was about 9, and I ultimately went on to play college tennis, so it was a gift for a lifetime.”

Born March 26, 1928, she was the oldest child of Winnie Borne Sherman, a noted artist, and Lee D. Sherman, who founded a brokerage on Wall Street, relatives said.

The New York native attended Washington University in St. Louis, where she graduated in 1949 with a bachelor’s degree in English.

After marrying Stanley M. Rosen that year, she relocated to Metro Detroit in 1952. They later divorced.

While living in Oak Park, Mrs. Cahn loved welcoming her sons’ friends and sharing dishes such as stewed chicken wings and spaghetti. “I always saw other kids in the neighborhood at her house,” Goodenday said.

Over the years, she also was active with the Hadassah Greater Detroit chapter, a Jewish women’s group, and helped organize a petition drive that led to the integration of Oak Park’s junior and senior high schools, her family said.

“Whatever she was involved in, she was passionate about,” Rosen said.

In her spare time, Mrs. Cahn relished arts and crafts — decorating her cards to loved ones with colorful butterflies and other imagery, Goodenday said.

The affinity was cultivated early and extended to collecting pieces over the years, her son said.

She also was outgoing, loved keeping pets and maintained a wide circle of friends.

“She had a great sense of humor,” her sister said. “She was always bubbly.”

Other survivors include two additional sons, Mitchell and James; six grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and a brother, Paul J. Sherman. She was predeceased by another sibling, Dr. Robert Sherman; and second husband Henry Cahn.

A memorial service is planned.

Memorials may be made in her memory to the Humane Society or the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.