cohen_10-1596-2December 21st, 1988 was a very tragic day. A day of tragic loss for many, as Pan Am Flight 103 from Heathrow to JFK in New York, exploded over Lockerbie, killing 243 people. One of which was a dear, personal friend of mine, as she was to many: Theodora (Theo) Cohen. The decisions made that day have changed the lives of many.

Theo had a bright future ahead of her. She was a truly unique individual–not only a beautiful girl but an extremely intelligent, talented girl who was an avid actress. Had she lived, there is no doubt in my mind that she would be one of the most famous actresses by now to appear on the screen. Her drive along with her natural talent was unstoppable.

Theo was always a step ahead of everyone on just about any front. Her wisdom was that of an old soul and by that I mean she understood life on a different level than most of us. She always understood or came to the conclusions before anyone else and while she may have seemed all-knowing at times, she was always patient and caring. Especially on things that mattered most. I attribute that, not only to her unique upbringing by her fine, cultured parents but also from that inner light that some people just seem to have.

I will never forget watching her from the front row of our high school auditorium when she starred in Gypsie. The theater club had gotten a baby lamb for the Little Lamb number. Theo sat on the stage walkway that led slightly out into the audience with her legs curled beneath her, and the baby lamb in her lap. I’m not actually sure that that was the song she sang, so, please, high school friends correct me if I am wrong, but the title doesn’t matter. What I remember most was the magic she created. As she sang, she glanced down at me, in the audience and I felt exhilarated as if a Star had recognized me! She was truly a Goddess, destined for the Limelight before that beautiful light was snuffed out by an entirely avoidable situation.

Theo would’ve been a great contribution to society and the tragic loss of her death was no accident. Loss of any life is tragic but when that loss could’ve been avoided by a simple information exchange it is underlined by the very definition of atrocity.

The authorities at Pan Am had received bomb threats regarding Flight 103–but chose to share the information with only a privileged few. There has been much controversy as to the truth of this, so, I’ll lay the facts out for you to decide what to believe. The privileged few, among them were The Four Tops. The 60s Motown quartet was informed about the bombing threat with a few other celebrities: Kim Cattrall & Johnny Rotten. I guess their famous status entitled them above Theo or anyone else on the plane that fated day on December 21st, 1988. I can guarantee you that had Theo known about the threat, she would be here with us today.

Each of the (famous) people that were to board Pan Am Flight 103 that day were interviewed. And each had some real bullshit reason that they did not board. Kim Cattrall said she missed the flight because she was getting her mother a Wedgwood Teapot. Johnny Rotten (ironically one of Theo’s favorite performers) missed the flight, along with his wife because they were fighting over her last minute packing. The Four Tops missed the flight because the were stuck filming a Television show called The Top of the Pops.

So, we, the grieving, along with Susan & Dan Cohen, Theo’s parents, are to believe that ALL of the famous people on Pan Am Flight 103 just happened to miss that flight that day? And the Four Tops…with TV’s expensive airtime-schedule would actually happen to run over that day.

I’m as convinced of that as I am convinced that I’m straight.

There is someone or a group of someones, that was responsible for the decision to keep the bombing threat information quiet. I don’t claim to know all the facts and I may be completely WRONG! But there is someone or a group of someones that know the truth. And that someone or someones will have to live with this decision for the rest of their life or lives.

Susan & Dan Cohen will never have their bright, beautiful daughter back. I, along with many, many others from my high school & hometown will never have their dear friend back. And I thought I’d never have my faith in the human race restored.

The only lesson I can gather from this tragic loss is to think long & hard, especially when lives are at stake when contemplating the choice of your decisions. Because the wrong decision choice may just remain with you for the rest of your life, not to mention forever changing the lives of many.



  1. Ozzy Motley ;) · · Reply

    ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Therea · · Reply

    Beautifully written Dean. Theo always had,a,way to make you feel special….even when yelling at you to learn your lines!!! She was a serious, passionate thespian at such a young age.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Haven’t thought about Theo in ages. Still very sad.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Awww. So tragic. Why didn’t they stop that plane from taking off for everyone? That’s so stupid and crazy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The crazy part is that they warned the “famous” people & not everyone else. If it isn’t enough of an impossible thing to lose a child, but to lose a child when they could’ve warned everyone and she could & would be here today. 😪


  5. Beautiful! I can feel your love and loss in your writing.

    Liked by 1 person

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