Welcome to the memorial page for

Judith (Ortiz) Cofer

February 24, 1952 ~ December 30, 2016 (age 64)
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Message from Jerry L Taylor Jr
December 30, 2016 1:35 PM

Memories are a gift from God that death cannot destroy. Our deepest sympathy to the Cofer family.

Jerry & Tara Taylor and the staff of Taylor Funeral Home
Message from Rafael Ocasio
December 30, 2016 3:09 PM

No te digo adiós sino hasta luego. You were my mentor and a good friend. I will miss you immensely.
Message from Catherine A Rogers
December 30, 2016 5:51 PM

Such an extraordinary talent, gone far too soon. My deepest condolences to her family.
Message from Courtney Denney
December 30, 2016 5:57 PM

Judith taught me so much about painting with words, but words fail me right now in my grief. She was an extraordinarily generous teacher, poet, mentor, friend, and I often hear her words of inspiration and encouragement, reminding me the importance of living the examined life, of seeking beauty all around, of working hard to make time to pursue my passions. I am so grateful to have known her, to have witnessed her artistry, her passion, her kindness, and her love for life and her dear family. My thoughts are with John and Tanya and the rest of her family. May your love carry you and warm you.
Message from Dr.Luzma Umpierre
December 30, 2016 7:26 PM

I just wrote my sentiments on my page on Facebook. I brought Judith to Western Kentucky University when I was Chair of Intercultural Studies. She read from In the line of the sun and her poems. The Dean was enthralled by her. The audience was huge and the reception gave everyone a class act from her smile and her brilliance in speaking humbly. I will never forget you! Hats off to a Boricua de Hormigueros. Proud of you, Judi! Clap with me as her body flies to the heavens! Brava!
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A candle was lit by Dr. LuzMaria Umpierre on December 30, 2016 7:26 PM
Message from Pittsburg, KS
December 30, 2016 7:48 PM

Although I did not know Judith Ortiz Cofer, I met her a few times and I have several vivid memories of her. Once at AWP Pedagogy forum she was in a beautiful red dress. We each read our short papers and then the audience could choose whose group to join. More than half of the audience flocked to be with her (there were 5 other choices, but she was so charismatic). We had her read once in Pittsburg, and she was quite gracious. I have loved her writing and I will continue to read her words. Her essay/story "The Woman Who Slept with One Eye Open," her essay "Silent Dancing" and her poem "Beans: An Apologia on Not Loving to Cook" are some of my favorites, and I'll continue to share them with future generations. My thoughts and sympathy are with her family and close friends. Peace to you all.
Message from Zacarias Rivera
December 30, 2016 7:52 PM

Please accept my heartfelt condolences. Judith Ortiz Cofer was a gentle spirit. Her books impacted my life, and I, in turn, have taught many of her poems and short stories to my high school students for more than twenty years. I weep with you, and pray for God's comfort during this time.
Message from Donny Seagraves
December 30, 2016 8:33 PM

I met Judith when I interviewed her for an article in Athens Magazine several years ago. She brought me several of her books, we had a long and delightful conversation about writing, life, family and everything in between. My sincere and heart-felt condolences go out to her family along with my thoughts and prayers.
Message from Esmeralda Santiago
December 30, 2016 11:34 PM

So very sorry to hear about the passing of the kind, generous, sweet, talented Judith. My deepest condolences to her loving family. She has left us but her stories, poems, essays and her radiant smile will live in the memories and hearts of those who had the good fortune of meeting her, reading her work, learning from her experiences and from her years of teaching. Blessings and warm thoughts to you in your bereavement. She was a special lady.
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A candle was lit by Antonia Dominguez on December 31, 2016 2:32 AM
Message from Ada Savin, PAris France
December 31, 2016 3:00 AM

What a shock!
Taching Judith Ortiz Cofer to my students was a pleasure. They love Silent Dancing...
She is silent now. Too soon.
All my sympathy to her family and friends.

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A candle was lit by Jose M Irizarry Rodriguez - UPRM on December 31, 2016 6:15 AM
Message from Athens Ga
December 31, 2016 8:24 AM

Asking God to give this wonderful family love, peace and cover them in their time of sorrow. I will miss my friend, she gave me many of her book when I worked in Park Hall. I am praying for the family!
Message from a fellow poet
December 31, 2016 8:29 AM

My condolences to Judith's family. Her poetry is so important to me and I hope it will always comfort you with her presence.

With deepest sympathy,
Message from Athens, Georgia
December 31, 2016 8:38 AM

Judith was a great woman and a great writer. I reviewed her "Terms of Survival" book for the Athens Observer weekly newspaper nearly 30 years ago and she read her poetry at the Athens Human Rights Festival some years back. My wife is a teacher and Judith spoke to one of my wife's classes, to the delight of the students. Judith was a literary light who remains undimmed. My condolences to her friends and family. ED TANT, Columnist, Athens Banner-Herald, www.edtant.com
Message from Barbara McCaskill
December 31, 2016 8:40 AM

Judith's light is not extinguished. She lives on through the many lives she has inspired by her writing, teaching, and friendship. My condolences and heartfelt empathy go out to the family.
Expression of Sympathy

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A MONET'S GARDEN TABLE BASKET was ordered on December 31, 2016

Message from R Brown
December 31, 2016 10:50 AM

I am sorry to hear of your loss. One of the most difficult things we have to deal with is the death of a loved one. The Bible promise; "God is close to the brokenhearted ; He saves those who are crushed in spirit." It also says; "Do not be amazed at this, for the hour is coming when all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out." (John 5;28,29) The Bible gives us hope that one day our dead loved ones will be brought back to life.
Message from Patti McWhorter
December 31, 2016 11:38 AM

So sad to learn of her passing. One of the literary greats. Honored to have met her.
Message from Marilisa Jimenez Garcia
December 31, 2016 12:29 PM

Dear Family,

I am heartbroken by Judith's passing. We had corresponded over the years about a project in Puerto Rican children's literature. And she was always kind. She had recently responded in the summer to a message about meeting in the future. Judith's words are in my heart and they will continue to teach and move us for generations. Much respect and love, Marilisa
Message from Kathy Davis Morgan
December 31, 2016 1:09 PM

My thoughts & prayers are you. My God bless & be with you all at this sad time.
Message from Dr. Rosemary Franklin
December 31, 2016 1:24 PM

Judith and I were friends upon her coming to teach and write at UGA. Her energy was spectacular. She had many awards. I was shocked to hear that she was dying of cancer. It would be a tragedy that she go so soon. My condolences to her husband John and all of her family.
Message from Ennis TX
December 31, 2016 7:56 PM

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family in this time of need. So sorry for the loss of your loved one.
Message from Stephen Steed
January 1, 2017 12:59 PM

John, I am sorry to hear of you loss. Thinking and praying for you and your family.
Message from Diana Henderson
January 1, 2017 3:38 PM

I knew Judy as a Bread Loaf friend during my years as a Middlebury professor, and will cherish those memories forever. She was great fun to be with, a wonderful writer, and a kind soul. My condolences to all who loved her.
Message from Lidia Filus
January 2, 2017 5:45 PM

My sincere condolences to Tanya and her family. You are all in my prayers.

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A candle was lit by Lidia on January 2, 2017 5:46 PM
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A candle was lit by The faculty and staff of NEIU's Math Department on January 3, 2017 11:50 AM
Message from The Math Department of NEIU
January 3, 2017 11:52 AM

Tanya, Dory and Eli: We are thinking of you. Your mother's strength and perseverance was an inspiration to us all. She was quite a remarkable woman. From the faculty and staff of Northeastern Illinois University's Math Department.
Message from Dee Hardy
January 3, 2017 7:33 PM

In Fall 1987, I was a student in Ms. Cofer's ENG101 class via UGA's Evening classes. Nearly thirty years later I can still remember what she taught me in class and about writing. She was a great lady. Prayers for her family and friends during this difficult time and the hard days ahead.
Message from Dr Janice Simon
January 3, 2017 11:21 PM

I am so saddened to hear of Judith's premature death. My heart goes out to her family, friends, students, and colleagues I did not know her well but remember the wonderful poetry and stories her students wrote in response to an exhibition of Art Rosenbaum's paintings on display (maybe at GMOA). I also remember when she received the University Research Professor award--so well deserved. A talented spirit and inspiring teacher who left us way too soon.
Message from Paul Farr
January 4, 2017 1:55 PM

Teacher, major professor, friend — Judith went above and beyond for those in her life, insisting that one's work and one's passions should not be kept separate, but that our lives are our work, and so she let people into her life. I will be eternally grateful for all that she taught me, much of which I'm still learning, and for her patience and kindness. Judith cared. She genuinely cared. She will be greatly missed.
Message from Douglas Kleiber
January 4, 2017 10:02 PM

I was taken aback to read of Judith's passing. I didn't realize she had cancer. And I had lost track of her when she retired and after my wife Pam died a few yeas ago. Pam loved Judith and introduced me to her. I was simply enchanted by her...such a lovely person. She was beautiful inside and out. It was such a pleasure for us to host Tanya's engagement party at our home and to meet Judith's husband John. I felt an immediate affinity for him as I did for her. Of all the beautiful and important people who had come into our lives, Judith and her family were right at the top. My deepest sympathies to John and Tanya and the rest of the family. Doug Kleiber
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A candle was lit by Jacquelyn Markham on January 4, 2017 10:44 PM
Message from Marilyn Slocumbe
January 5, 2017 7:47 PM

I shed a tear of sadness this morning after reading about Judith Ortiz Cofer in the Athens paper. She has long been a favorite writer and poet of mine, and when she met with our Chapter XIV Bookclub, it was the highlight of our year. She has left a wonderful gift of special literature to all of us. My heartfelt condolences.
Message from Patricia Bell-Scott, fellow writer and UGA faculty colleague
January 6, 2017 6:40 AM

I will always remember Judith's wonderful spirit and the joy her writing brought to me, my students, and the faculty memoir group at UGA to which she belonged. She was an inspiring example for so many women and people of color. Rest in peace, dear one.
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A candle was lit by Francisco Revelles on January 6, 2017 9:16 PM
Message from Stephanie Power-Carter, Former Student
January 8, 2017 1:45 AM

Dear Family,
I am so sorry to learn of the passing of Professor Cofer. I arrived on the UGA campus summer of 1989. While there, Professor Cofer taught one of my favorite courses. She was such an inspiration to me and one of the reasons that I persevered through my undergrad program and went on to become a high school English teacher and currently a college professor at Indiana University. It was hard at times being the only person of color in most of my classes. Knowing what I know now, I am sure it wasn't easy for her either. Actually, I believe that she might have been my only professor of color while I was at UGA. What I remember most is her beauty and passion. She always taught with such passion. I learned so much from her course. It was the readings from her class that really introduced me to world of diverse literature something my public education had not. As a first generation young African American woman, I also found comfort in the course readings that she had selected-- I wasn't the only one who struggled -- Piri Thomas, Hisay Yamamoto, John Okada, Alice Walker. .. I began to find my voice. In many ways, she inspired my life's work. In fact, all these years, I still, to this day have the textbook that we used in her class. Over the years, I would see her every now and then at an annual conference where she was guest author. I wish that I had kept in touch with her. I am so sad to hear that she is no longer with us, but she certainly had a life full of meaning, and I have been very blessed by it. Today, I added her quote to my e-mail signature: "The best advice I can give is to be engaged in an activity that gives meaning to your life." I shared this with a friend today. Even now, she continues to reach and inspire. Thank you for sharing her with us all these years. Her legacy will not be forgotten. You all are in my thoughts and prayers.

Stephanie Power-Carter

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A candle was lit by R. W. Haynes on January 9, 2017 4:04 PM
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A candle was lit by Cameron Davis on January 12, 2017 1:03 PM
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A candle was lit by UGA Bookstore on October 10, 2017 2:11 PM
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