Three of Detroit's leading Jewish figures
say that without their secretaries, there
would be no lime in their light,
STEVEN M. HARTZ
Jewish News Intern
ehind every influential work-
ing man or woman is a power
secretary. Mildred Miller,
Sheri Madon and Nancy
Lippert have been responsible
for keeping their respective bosses,
Leon Cohan, Florine Mark and Judge
Avern Cohn, in line.
In 1961, Leon Cohan was ap-
pointed deputy attorney general of
Michigan. At the same time, Mildred
Miller, a 37-year-old resident of Lan-
sing who is of Lebanese descent, was
working at the state attorney
general's office. She became Cohan's
secretary. Twenty-eight and a half
years later, Miller retired from the
working world and her latest job,
secretary to the Senior Vice President
and General Counsel of Detroit
Edison — Leon Cohan.
"I've worked for other attorneys in
the attorney general's office, but with
Mr. Cohan, it was a real challenge
just trying to keep up with the pace
he set for himself," Miller said. "He
was fast. He was a quick thinker, and
he was the fastest man from whom I
Previously the secretary for then-
deputy attorney general Joe Bilitzke,
Miller found working for Cohan was
not what she expected. "It was hectic,
always hectic," she said. "My job grew
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FRIDAY, APRIL 7, 1989
because the attorney general's office general and the deputy attorney
grew under Mr. Cohan."
In 1973, 12 years after Cohan was
Miller's day usually began at 8 appointed deputy attorney general,
a.m and ended- about 6 p.m. On he resigned to work at Detroit Edison.
several occasions, Cohan called her at There was a condition to his accepting
home in the evening and dictated the position.
when he needed a letter sent out first
"One of the things he wanted was
thing -the next day. In the morning, to be able to take his secretary with
Miller transcribed her notes and had him, so I made the move, too," Miller
them ready for him to read and edit. said?'
By 9 a.m., she took the final copy to
Miller left her married son,
the press room.
daughter-in-law and granddaughter
From there, Miller returned to her in Lansing and moved to an apart-
desk and found "piles and piles" of ment in Farmington Hills to continue
mail. She opened and parceled all of working for Cohan.
Adjusting to the new community
the letters directed to the attorney
was not difficult for Miller because
Cohan and his wife, Heidi, made her
feel like family. "I even spent some of
the Jewish holidays at their house,"
she said. "I learned a lot about
Judaism from the Cohans."
Once settled in her apartment,
Miller developed an interest in weav-
ing. She enjoyed it so much that she
enrolled in a tapestry weaving class
— in France.
"When I asked him for some time
off because I wanted to see Europe,
Mr. Cohan was very supportive," she
said. "I think he was more excited
aboUt my touring Europe than I was:'
Miller said an important part of
being secretary to_ the senior vice
president of Detroit Edison was the
community work in which Cohan was
involved. "Any project, memberships
on boards and commissions, for which
he assumed responsibility was one
that I, as his secretary, shared,"
Miller said. "I prepared the materials
that he used, plus I scheduled
meetings and generally saw that the
project ran smoothly.
"He has a good rapport with so
many people in public service and in
the Jewish community, and that's
what this job offered — the opportuni-
ty for me to meet the senators, gover-
nor, and other major attorneys in the
state," Miller said. "I also met people
from the arts world and from the