Ellen Bates Griffith Cohen was born on July 9, 1950. She was the third of four children and the only daughter of Thomas Dison Griffith and Mary Elizabeth Bates Griffith.
Ellen graduated from Brown University (Providence, Rhode Island) in 1973, and earned her JD from Georgetown Law School (Washington, DC) in 1976. She began her law career working for non-profit poverty and children’s advocacy groups. She then moved on to the National Health Lawyers Association, then to Washington G-2 Reports where she wrote about various aspects of health law for publications, and finally to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). She retired from CMS in 2012.
On May 7, 1994, Ellen married David Cohen. David and Ellen became dedicated members of the Bethesda-Chevy Chase YMCA in Bethesda, Maryland. She particularly loved the water exercises and doing “planks”.
In July of 2018, Ellen was diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma, a very rare cancer. She had surgery to remove the tumor and was told that the surgery appeared to be successful. Then, in March 2019, she was told that the cancer was back and had metastasized. While Ellen always eschewed such expressions a “battling cancer,” the physical strength gained by her regular exercise regimens enabled her to hang in against this pernicious enemy for several months.
At 6:04 on the morning of Friday, September 6, 2019, Ellen passed away. Her husband, David, and her brother and sister-in-law, Stan and Ann, were at her side.