National BMX Hall of Fame just announced this year's nominees in six categories with Howie in the "Industry" category.
Howie's the first BMX-related person I spoke with before there was Generation BMX or The BMX Boys of E.T., back in 2013. I wish I had saved the voice mail he'd left after the multimedia piece published because no written word can capture the joy in someone's voice. He also let me know that he spotted a typo. Howie passed away a few months later. I wrote an "In Memoriam" post on my personal blog; I've pasted the whole entry below.
I'm glad his Everything Bicycles website is still up. I used to spend long hours looking through the galleries.
And I'm happy to see his name on the nomination. Hope a plaque with his name and picture graces the walls alongside other Hall of Famers.
IN MEMORIAM: HOWIE COHEN
July 13, 2013
July 13, 2013, 12:56 p.m.
"I was just wondering if you knew that Howie Cohen has passed"
The text message from Robert Cardoza floored me. I'd been thinking about Howie this past week. Our last conversation over the phone, a little over a month ago, was regarding the possibility of pursuing a BMX documentary, his website, and my interview with Bob Osborn. I had asked him when he'd visit New York, to which he replied, "I don't like traveling much but you're welcome to visit me any time."
I didn't know who Howie Cohen was until a few months ago. We became acquainted when my girlfriend introduced me to him. He was an expert on the history of bicycles and she was interviewing him for an article. Howie shared with her that he had built the bicycle for the movie E.T. and I was off and running to find out more details. It made Howie happy that I'd wanted to tell his story. We emailed back and forth often and talked over the phone. He asked if I wouldn't mind calling him at 7 am (MDT). Most of our conversations, including the interview that ended up in the story, were conducted during those morning hours. He meticulously catalogued his collection of bicycle images and memorabilia and so every image, art board, and E.T.-related items were emailed to me with exact captioning, labels etc.
Howie is the reason the story evolved to also include the untold story of the stunt bikers from E.T. He personally connected me with Robert Cardoza and suggested I also connect with Bob Haro and Bob Osborn.
I feel honored that Howie shared his stories with me. Bicycle stories made him happy. It made him happy that this newbie filmmaker wanted to make a BMX documentary. It didn't matter to him I couldn't tell the difference between a gyro and a BLT. It mattered the subject was bicycles.
Everything Bicycles was not just the name of Howie Cohen's distributor, it was his life. The BMX world owes a great deal to this man. I'm not alone with that thought.
Thank you, Howie.
Below is a series of photos Howie provided for the original piece, including his captions, but didn't end up in the final article.
"Growing up in the Cohen household was wonderful; I have so many warm memories about my youth. Bicycles were always a part of our family life; both at home and also in the bike shop that our parents owned. My sister, brother & I always had several trikes and/or bikes to ride at our disposal. My parents always encouraged us to participate in bicycle events and neighborhood bicycling. We went on occasional bicycle outings.
My first vehicle was a tricycle; here is a picture of me at about 18-months of age on it. My first two wheel bike was a 12 inch sidewalk bike at about 3 1/2 years of age. I've always had bicycles in my life and recently (this year) acquired a new bike from a Detroit bicycle factory (Detroit Bikes) that I am riding almost everyday (weather permitting). It's such a pleasure!"