Jody Jakofsky-Cohen

Culver City mourns the passing of Jody Jakofsky-Cohen, also known as “JJ” who passed in February of this year. Her life included family, friends, many businesses and adventures. She will be missed. 

Jody began her career designing, creating & selling her designs at Her Nibs Women’s Wear at her husband Howard Cohen’s Culver City Store. She was initially a Fashion Designer, having graduated from the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM).

All the while, JJ had a passion for food. This led JJ away from fashion and right into the restaurant scene. She worked at several prominent restaurants across the westside, including – Berlatsky’s, the Williamsburg Inn, and Peppone’s.

JJ took a short sabbatical to travel and further experience the world of fine dining throughout North America.

Shortly after, her then-boyfriend (soon to be husband), Howard Cohen, took her to Virgilio’s in Culver City for dinner, where Owner Virgilio del Mar, formerly a waiter at Peppone’s, hired her “on the spot” to manage his expanding restaurant.

After many years at Virgilio’s, JJ had the opportunity to open a restaurant on Hayden Avenue in Culver City, and so, JJ’s Cafe was born!

The cafe sadly closed in 2009 – as JJ was diagnosed with a benign brain mass that required 9+ hour surgery to remove. This ordeal left her unable to smell or taste, providing its own set of challenges for someone who loved to cook meals for guests, friends & family.

In all, JJ’s life was full of love, flavor, and adventure. She cherished her restaurant, her staff, and her guests. She loved traveling with her husband Howard in their motor home and on their boat and adored her boating friends.

Jody passed on February 13, 2022 from an acute case of diverticulitis causing sepcis & organ failure; she fought hard to live.

Jody is survived by her loving husband of 35-years, Howard Cohen, and her siblings, sister Sheryl Menes, brother Les Jakofsky & sister-in-laws Cheryl and Ellyn Herling, and numerous cousins, nieces & nephews.

Donations can be made in her name, to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), as Jody was an ardent animal lover & supporter!

Click here to donate: ASPCA.org

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23 Comments

  1. Jody was a Bright Light, always bringing smiles to everyone she encountered. She had an amazing Energy. I have been friends with her husband Howard for over 70 years. We went through Kindergarten all the way to graduating from Hamilton High School together. He loved JJ with all his heart, and he is now heartbroken. There is a “Gofundme” sight Howard and all that he is going through. Please look for it and donate what you can. It was originally put up by Tiffany Kjenstad, so it might be listed either under her name or Howard Cohen.

  2. She was a super sweetheart to us. She will be truly missed and remembered. We’re here for you brother.
    Dan, Nelli & Regency Crew

  3. Howard,
    My best thoughts are with you and a prayer is on my lips. A Srong Embrace

    To Those I Love and Those Who Love Me…

    When I am gone, release me, let me go-
    I have so many things to see and do.
    You mustn’t tie yourself to me with tears,be happy that we had so many years.
    I gave you my love. You can only guess how much you gave to me in happiness.
    I thank you for the love you have show, but now it’s time I traveled on alone.
    So grieve a while for me if grieve you must.
    Then let your grief be comforted by trust.
    It’s only for a while that we must part.So bless the memories within your heart.
    I won’t be far away, for life goes on.So if you need me, call and I will come.
    Though you can’t see or touch me, I’ll be near-
    And if you listen with your heart,You’ll hear,All of my love around you soft and clear.
    And then, when you must come this way alone, I’ll greet you with a smile, and “Welcome Home”.
    (Author Unknown)

  4. Jody had the most beautiful spirit. She brought so much love, and light, into the lives of all of us who were blessed to know and love her.

    I really looked forward to seeing Jody, and her wonderful and devoted husband Howard, and their precious baby Lacey, at all of our dear friend John’s gatherings.

    Jody always greeted me with a warm hug. I will never forget our Thanksgiving, and Christmas, at John’s this year. We had the most wonderful conversation on Christmas. She gave me many hugs that day, and when I walked her to the car, she gave me one last hug, and told me that she loved me. I will always treasure that hug. Jody will live on in my heart for the rest of my days.

    When I look up into the night sky, and see a bright star, I will see Jody, watching over Howard and Lacey and all of us who love her, with unconditional love, just as she did during her journey here on earth. I will miss her so very much.

  5. My dear Judy was beautiful inside and out. Her beautiful smile was infectious and she was like a ray of sunshine. I’m glad I had the opportunity to have known her. She was gorgeous and touched many lives. I’m so sad she’s not amongst us anymore. She’s in heaven with angels. Please accept my condolences again my dear Howard for your huge loss. May my dear Judy’s memory be blessed

  6. Jody was fun, beautiful, sassy and sweet. She was a very close friend and is truly missed. I loved visiting her and Howard on their boat, having an amazing meal cooked by JJ and of course, playing Mexican Train. She had her fun songs and comments but you always had to keep an eye on her. She kept things fun and always had everyone laughing.
    I miss you my sweet sweet friend.
    Love and prayers to Howard & family during this difficult time.

  7. Jody was my confidant, my pal, my friend for over 50 years. I miss her in my life and will hold her memory close to me always. I danced at her wedding, and loved her husband like he was my brother. A sister forever, dear Jody. She made me laugh, and left me warm and feeling loved, always. She knew pretty much every secret I ever had, and honored my trust. Oh life, it aches sometimes. And then I remember Jody and that ache softens.

  8. The brightest light in the room. When JJ entered, everything started.Caring and strong, energetic and kind … she was all those things.
    The world will not be the same without her effervescence!

  9. Howard, JJ was one of the first people to welcome me to my new boat slip. She was always kind, generous and welcoming. You and JJ were the happiest and friendliest couple on the dock. The love you guys shared is rarely seen. I am very sorry for your loss, but rest assured you will be with JJ again.

  10. Jody was such a rare wonderful young lady.Terrible loos to all of us.Especially Howard.
    We will all miss her.
    May she rest in Heaven where she belongs.
    Gianni Paoletti

  11. We came to know JJ as neighbors at the marina and know her as the friendliest, kindest, and sassiest gal you could know. Her smile was sunshine. JJ called Andrew her boyfriend, until the youngun in the next slip came along. JJ was a very special lady. <3

  12. So sorry for JJ’s passing. I have many fond memories of our times together in the Marina and at Catalina Island. JJ was always full of life, engaging and opened her heart to everyone. I loved JJ and all the wonderful times we had together. Our good memories will last forever! She will be missed.

  13. Doctors take it as a personal defeat when one of their patients is brought down by a medical problem, but I, as personal physician to JJ found not only that defeat, but a profound loss of a friend who must be remembered for her lovely spirit, her amazing ability with food, and her complete trust in everyone she met. I have met many people in my life, but none can compare with the true goodness of Jody. Her laugh was contagious, her smile endearing, and her faithfulness to Howard are attributes that truly demand our remembrance of her life. Rest in peace.

  14. JJ was living proof that good things do come in small packages! So much personality, fun and love all came from that tiny little lady. The very first day our boat arrived on their dock, Howard and JJ invited us for dinner on their boat, it was the beginning of some many good times to come. Bob and l will always treasure the memories. JJ is missed by our whole family.

  15. The loving memories shared in this article for my dear Jody, our dear “J.J.” from her friends means so very very much to me!!!❤❤❤❤❤❤

  16. Dear Howard,

    I am so very sorry for your great loss and that you and I met under such unpleasant circumstances this afternoon. I will keep you in my thoughts and heart. Please remember to take care of yourself and that you will be okay.

    Kris Woods

  17. Oh Jody…. What a fireball she was. Long before we were friends, I was in love with JJ’s tuna melt. I don’t know how she did it but, to this day, I’ve never had a better tuna melt. I didn’t realize when we met that she was the infamous JJ of the Café! As dock neighbors, we made a lot of memories in the marina, but there’s one that plays over and over in my head… Jamie and I eloped to Catalina Island and when we sailed back into the marina, it was a beautiful evening, right around dusk – and there was Jody, excitedly waiting for us on the dock. She was absolutely beaming with joy, like truly bursting at the seams with so much love and happiness. Anyone who knew her knows exactly what I’m talking about. That was her gift to the world. That and her tuna melt, obviously. ❤️❤️❤️

  18. JJ was a ball of fire. She was welcoming, warm, engaging, quick to smile and share a laugh. She made you feel right at home at every encounter. She was adventurous and joyful. Jody will be missed, but I know she will be a wonderful Angel in Heaven and be watching over us through the looking glass of the star that shines most brightly when you look up to the heavens. JJ will always be in our heart and thoughts with Love & Warm Smiles.

  19. Dearest Howard, in learning of the loss of Jody, I am reeling in disbelief. I am so very sad and full of sorrow for you. I am thinking about you and wishing you courage and strength to help you day by day. I can still vividly remember years ago when you and Jody dined at “SPATS”, Hyatt Regency Maui, where I worked. Fun and love was flowing that evening. You two lovebirds were filled with joy. Just one of many special memories. You were blessed with your years together and the life you shared. I hope your memories will help to warm your heart. If something sparks a memory, perhaps Jody is speaking to you, as she will always be with you. I am remembering Jody with love, and wishing you time for healing.

  20. Oh my god I am sorry for your loss. I can’t belive we lost her we defently will miss her so much. May she rest in peace. Please come by any time you are able. Take care and god bless.

  21. Jody a very special and a much loved sister-in-law. We worked together for a long time. I knew Jody for about 50 or so years. Howard and Jody were together 40 years and married for 35 years. I met Jody when she started working in my families clothing store in Culver Center. Later there came a change. Jody started working as a hostess at night in an area restaurant. She really liked it, plus she was learning a lot about buying and ordering supplies. She was thinking about opening her own Cafe, breakfast and lunch..It turned out to be a great idea..I loved J’J’s Cafe in Culver City. Really nice people and great food. You could tell she really what she was doing, and she was a great cook. That’s where I come in. She needed help with the daily receipts and the end of the months receipts, plus the monthly and end of the months bills..I would come to the Cafe several days a week and work on the books. There were quite a few customers that came in at least 4 days a week. The Cafe was there for about 25 or so years. I was very sad when I learned that Jody was closing the Cafe. The land owner wanted the front and the back space to build one large building. I still miss it. I think of the Cafe often.I miss the great food and we all had our favorite foods. Jody was very special and much loved..I will miss her always…Much Love, Ellyn H. Herling

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