August 12, 2016

Jill Cohen's last dance with cancer occurred Thursday morning at 11:18 under hospice at Swedish at Cherry Hill in Seattle. She was not in any pain. Susan her sister and Rik her husband were there holding her hands as she breathed her last breaths. She lived life to the fullest, and wanted no "pity party" so do not mourn her death but celebrate her life by living and loving each other. Thank you to all for the hugs, love and reachouts from around the globe. Jill and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Funeral services are set for Sunday at 3PM at Congregation Beth Shalom at 6800 35th Avenue NE in Seattle's Wedgwood neighborhood. In honor of Jill's last request purple is the color of the day.   

Here is the obituary as written by Jill!           

Jill Meredith Cohen, age 56, died August 11, 2016 of complications related to metastatic breast cancer. A life-long Zionist and committed Jew, Jill was president and a member of the board of Congregation Beth Shalom and a life member of Hadassah. In recent years she also volunteered for Swedish Medical Center, Gilda’s Club Seattle and the Young Survival Coalition.

Jill spent a transformative year studying in Israel at age 17, and earned a bachelor’s degree in Jewish Studies from the University of Cincinnati and a master’s degree in Jewish Communal Service from Brandeis University. Jill spent her professional career serving the Jewish community and fighting HIV/AIDS. She always said that working for non-profits helped pay her “rent” on earth by trying to make the world a better place.

The perks of Jill’s professional career in the Jewish community were the multiple opportunities to travel to Israel and to help share her love of Israel with others. She was proud to have re-invented herself mid-career as a fundraiser, which gave her the opportunity to teach people both how to give themselves and how to ask others for support of a worthy cause.

All her life Jill was an avid dancer and singer, and performed with the Sabra Dancers of Cincinnati, Zemya Ethnic Dance Theatre of Washington DC, Zivili Kolo Ensemble of Columbus Ohio and Seattle’s Radost Folk Ensemble and Dunava Women’s Balkan Choir. Her favorite part was to ululate, yip and bark like a dog! Jill was especially fond of Broadway musicals. As a girl, she wanted to be a Rockette but never met the height requirement.

Jill believed there are four things central to a good life: a relationship with a loving partner; involvement in community; satisfying and challenging work; and raising the next generation.

After her cancer diagnosis, and particularly after her diagnosis with metastatic disease, Jill tried to live in the moment, especially if that moment included some vitamin CH -- chocolate. She found tremendous satisfaction in writing about her life with metastatic breast cancer on her blog, Dancing With Cancer  (http://www/ Her family and friends can continue to write there to honor her wishes that the blog stay active for a year after her death.

The great tragedy of Jill’s life was not breast cancer, but the fact that cancer cheated her and her husband Rik out of children. To all parents, she would say: “You have been given a special blessing and responsibility to raise the next generation.”

Jill is survived by her loving husband Richard (Rik) Katz, her faithful companion dogs Bobka and Boychick, and Marilyn Cohen (mother), Susan and David Olinsky (sister and brother-in-law), Eric and Dana Olinsky, Jo and Abe Katz, Bobby Katz and Tina Otto, Michael Katz and Maulkie Spilberg, Marcus and Luca Katz.

As a fundraiser for many years, Jill would appreciate donations in her memory to Young Judaea, the youth movement backed by Hadassah, which played so formative a role in her life (, or to Congregation Beth Shalom, her spiritual home ( Jill also supported the research organization Metavivor where 100% of donations go to metastatic breast cancer research ( 

In loving memory Rik Katz



  1. I know Jill wanted no pity party, but I do feel incredibly sad. Jill has been an inspiration to me and indeed to many many others. May she RIPx

  2. Rik...I am so sorry to hear this. I can't tell you sad I am, yet I had never met Jill personally. She was instrumental in helping me to navigate my own cancer journey that began in 2008. I know she was a woman of faith and conviction and she would not want me to be sad for too long. I will miss her so very much. She fought so long and so hard. She often made me wish that I had a Dr. G. in my corner! You will be in my thoughts on Sunday and beyond. I live in Florida and so being there for her services is just not possible. Please know that I am hugging you from afar. Blessings to you and your family.

  3. Rik,

    I never met Jill, but I have followed her blog since I was diagnosed with Stage IV in April of last year. Knowing there was a fellow Seattle resident that thrived for so many years, bolstered my spirits and gave me hope that I will see my young children grow up.

    Blessings to your family as you celebrate Jill's life. May the next chapter of life your life unfold with joy and happiness.


  4. Anonymous4:31 PM

    RIP Jill. Your blog has inspired me on many occasions during my own Stage 4 journey.


  5. I am so sorry to hear this news. I have followed Jill for a long time. Jill has always inspired me. I am praying for you and your family. God bless.

  6. Anonymous5:33 PM

    How could we not mourn about Jill's passing? I've followed her while my mother was still alive, that was 6 years ago, i felt in her posts her stong desire to live, to love and to be loved. I'm out of words...may she rest in peace. Lorenzo

  7. Rik, I've known Jill for many years through Club Mets and always admired her pluck and willingness to keep living fully!

    May her memory be a blessing, Stephanie

  8. Anonymous5:54 PM

    I'm so very sorry for your loss. I will greatly miss Jill's wonderful and inspirational blog.

  9. Anonymous6:25 PM

    I am so very sorry to hear that Jill's earthly journey is over. I considered her a friend even though we never met face to face. I had truly hoped to be able to visit Seattle and meet her some day. Her continued activity level and positive outlook were so helpful to me. I will miss her blog and pure spirit. Glenda Kunath in San Angelo, TX

  10. Anonymous7:53 PM

    I found this blog reading on cancer when a coworker was diagnosed with breast cancer at a young age. I kept reading for her wit and sense of humor that came through to the reader. Deepest sympathy to her family

  11. Anonymous10:48 PM

    I was a member of Jill's support group at Swedish for a year. She was such a shining star, funny and frank. I was astounded when I first joined to hear that she had traveled to Europe to dance and sing with her group; after I was around her for a while, I was no longer astounded, because she was energy and light personified. May her memory be for a blessing.

  12. I am so sorry to hear this news. I have followed Jill's story since shortly after I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007. I have admired her from afar. She kept on living life to its fullest even while dealing with her breast cancer. I was a huge fan.

  13. Tho we met only in passing, Jill was a hero to me and many others with MBC. She was a gift to us all. --Katerine OBrien

  14. I knew Jill in graduate school.
    She knew and lived life through her celebration of all the senses.
    Her legacy to us is to celebrate our bodies' finite senses given depth through infinite souls.

  15. I'm sad to hear of Jill's passing. She and her blog have been and will continue to be inspirational. I never met her, but have followed her blog for several years. I can tell she was an exceptional person who touched the lives of many people.

  16. I have read and re-read dozens of times this post, and I feel sad every single time. I, like so many of the previous posters, have never met her, and although I am not Jewish, not at all talented, not witty, way less energetic than she is, not a cancer patient, and we have seemingly nothing in common, I want her to be my sister. In her memory, I made her Harvey Wallbanger cake today, told my family about Jill, and we ate the entire thing, partly because it's delicious, and partly because her posts made me certain that she enjoyed pleasing people, and having them enjoy the food she so lovingly prepared. Our loss is Heaven's great gain. May her memory be a treasure. Good night, Jill.

  17. Anonymous8:10 AM

    So sorry to hear of Jill's passing. I also never had the pleasure of meeting her but she was such a help to me through her blog when I started my own cancer journey. Prayers to her family.

  18. Please accept my deepest condolences! I began following Jill's blog after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014. My heart was encouraged by her bravery. It's as though her writings were my "courage injection." My heart is broken, though we never met. May the LORD comfort you and bless you always. I have mentioned her a few times this week on my blog and hope her memory and writings will continue to inspire and encourage others. Blessings, grace and peace to you!

  19. So Sorry for your loss Rik and Family.

    I've been following Jill's journey since my mother was diagnosed and in 2012 and lost her battle a year later. Today marks the anniversary of her burial. Jill gave us a lot of hope and strength and I was always hoping that she would pull through all of this.

    I am sorry that at this time the most I am able to offer, is to send you and your family, love and light. <3 She will be missed.