Former President Paul Roberts
I think that I would like people to know that I love historic houses and have restored and lived in 3 of them for about the past 40 years, that I was very involved in preservation in Berkeley, then Alameda, and now at the Cohen-Bray House in Oakland, and that I love doing research and discovering new things.
I have been a member of several preservation organizations, including BAHA, OHA, and the National Trust; and was Board President of the Alameda Victorian Preservation Society (AVPS, now AAPS) in 1983 (on the Board 1982-84), Founding Board Vice President of the Alameda Main Street Project in 1983 and President of the Board 1985-1986, and a Board member of the VPCO (the Cohen-Bray House) since 1997 and Board President 1999-present. I have researched and led walking tours in both residential and commercial districts in Alameda and given several lectures on historic residential architecture in Berkeley and Alameda and on Victorian designer/builder A.W. Pattiani, architect Joseph Cather Newsom, and turn-of-the-century photographer Edgar A. Cohen.
In my other life I study air pollution and the effects of air pollution on health. I have done work on air pollution all over the U.S. and in Juarez, Mexico and Cairo, Egypt; this has given me many opportunities to visit historic houses! I have done work on air pollution in schools very near major freeways in Las Vegas and Salt Lake City.
Former Board Member
John Michael "Mike" Reidenbach died unexpectedly at home on December 2. Mike was the oldest great-grandchild of the Cohens, and the only one to be born in Emma's Bray Cohen's lifetime.
When her daughter Emelita informed Emma of his birth, she replied "Now I'm Granny the great!". His grandmother was the second Cohen daughter, Marion Cohen Gilliland.
Mike realized as Emelita grew older that the question of what would become of the house would need to be addressed. Using his expertise as lawyer, he rallied all the various family owners to keep the house and contents intact, and form a non-profit to protect and preserve it. Without his firm vision the house would not exist as the treasure it is. He was the first president of the VPCO during its formative years. After a long break, he rejoined the board two years ago after his retirement. He had hoped to help the organization reach the level necessary to sustain the house through the years ahead.
His children have requested that any memorial gifts be given to the Cohen Bray House.
His full obituary is available on the link below