"Like some runners have to run every day," his mother said, "he had to ride. He had to go on his bicycle all the time."
One day in 1996, Mr. Cohen closed his shop and set out to cycle. A drunken driver hit him head-on on Wieuca Road. He had multiple fractures. He had blood in his lungs. Brain damage was suspected. He was comatose. Chances of survival appeared nil.
"I was the first one to see him at the hospital," said Dr. Louis Cohen of Marietta, an older brother. "I can't even explain the feeling that I had seeing him in that situation, knowing Albert and how he loved to do things."
For months, Mr. Cohen stayed at the Shepherd Center as well as a rehab hospital. When he came home, his parents, Tillie and Victor Cohen, moved out of their home on Margaret Mitchell Street to his as care providers.
"Because he was in such good physical shape, they were able to put his legs back together," his mother said, "but they said he'd never be able to move his legs or ever be able to eat. Little by little, he was able to eat to the point he could eat solid foods. His speech was impaired, he was in a wheelchair, but his mind was absolutely brilliant."
On Tuesday, Albert Samuel Cohen died in his sleep. He was 56. A graveside service will be held at noon Thursday at Arlington Cemetery. Dressler's Jewish Funeral Care is in charge of arrangements.
In 1981, Mr. Cohen and a roommate lived on Clairmont Avenue in DeKalb County. They started some type of computer business that didn't pan out. Mr. Cohen had always worked on cars. He turned it into a business.
The bicycle accident rendered Mr. Cohen incapable of running his shop. He begged his parents to keep Auto Delta open, and they did for several years. It was dissolved a year ago this month.
Despite his physical condition, the UGA grad didn't complain. He swam every day, either at the Decatur YMCA or the Shepherd Center. When friends found out he'd died, they beat a path to his Decatur home.
"He did more than the doctors ever thought he would," his mother said. "He was in a wheelchair and had to be lifted into bed. Not one time did he lash out at us or become angry or anything. That's the type of person he was."
Additional survivors include a sister, Dr. Joy Cohen of New Orleans.