Bob Cohen’s Surprise 70th Birthday Potluck

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On September 27, we celebrated Bob’s 70th birthday with a surprise potluck behind our new LEAP building in Santa Ana. Friends, colleagues, Board members, and staff dropped by throughout the day to celebrate Bob’s big 7-0. Bob was pleasantly, and humbly surprised by the party, despite the suspicious activity he witnessed throughout the morning.

At 12:30p (just a half hour before our big surprise), Bob decided to go out and buy a yoga mat. Upon his return, to his dismay, he found the parking lot to be particularly, and unusually, overcrowded. Determined to find a spot, he drove his car to the back of the LEAP building, and to his bewilderment, saw an arrangement of white tables and cream colored umbrellas. Perplexed, and slightly curious, he vacated the parking lot to find a spot elsewhere.

While walking back to his office, he stopped Mary Lou Czerner in the hallway to inquire about the set up he saw behind the LEAP building. Thanks to Mary Lou’s quick wit, she simply shrugged it off and replied it was probably for the MCLE presentation by Justice William Rylaarsdam and Marjorie Fuller that was currently, and coincidentally, taking place in the large conference room. Satisfied with this perfectly reasonable and logical response, Bob nodded his head and didn’t think anything else of it.

Then, at 12:50p, just ten minutes before the big surprise, Bob rounded a corner in the admin hallway to see a staff member and an intern toting five sizable bags of plastic party cups. Cocking his head to the side, Bob asked them what the cups were for, to which they stammered it was for the Voices for Justice event, before scurrying away.

At 1p, Karen Harris and Mary Lou swung by Bob’s office to “take him out to lunch across the street.” They persuaded him to walk to the restaurant to meet up with the other staff since it was so close. As they crossed the front of the LEAP building, Karen glanced at her phone and confidently proclaimed she just received a text message from Bill Tanner, who said the new Dean of Chapman Law School was at the MCLE lunch behind the LEAP building, and that Bob should drop by and introduce himself.

Detouring, the trio headed to the LEAP building, as Bob’s party guests scrambled into position for the big surprise. To Bob’s disbelief, he was met with 50 laughing, smiling, and applauding guests, all wishing him a happy birthday.

Fresh spring rolls, a colossal fruit filled tres leche cake, and a variety of delightful dishes were enjoyed by all thanks to Laura Luu and Gloria Perez. Thank you to everyone who was a part of Bob’s special day, and a big happy birthday to our favorite Executive Director, Bob.