[Courtesy photo]

Jil Cole Kulander, age 61, passed away at home on February 22, cradled in the arms of her children Olivia, Dashiel and Kayla, and her husband of 37 years, Charlie. A debilitating seven-year struggle with cancer, which she faced with fierce courage, never diminished Jil’s faith in the power of love. In the end, she carried this love as a guiding light into the unknown.

Jil was destined to travel. In fact, she was born in a car in Shaker Heights, Ohio, in 1955, and spent her childhood in Manhattan Beach, California, in Brisbane and Sydney, Australia, and in Stockholm, Sweden, which explained her taste for crispbread and lingonberry jam. She took classes at El Camino College while working with her dear friends at the Sweetwater Café, a musical venue in Hermosa Beach. But adventure called. She met her husband when their sailboats crossed off the coast of Baja California, and married him a year and a half later on a desert island in the Sea of Cortez. They spent several years under sail on an extended honeymoon, living off lobsters and love. Soon after, their first child, Olivia, was born, and they moved ashore and set up house in La Paz, Mexico, and later Mexico City, before moving to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where their son, Dashiel, was born. They returned to live along the Sea of Cortez for several years before a road trip landed them in Castle Valley (and later Moab), where they built a house. Their niece, Kayla Weston, joined the family in 2006, and Jil’s last journey was taking her as an incoming honors freshman to the University of San Diego.

Throughout her life, Jil wore many hats, as a travel writer for STAR Service, as one of Synergy Company’s first employees, and as co-owner of Concierge360, a travel media company. But her true calling was always to be there for her friends and family, through bad times and good. She connected with countless lives, touching everyone she met with her generosity, her compassion, her sassy spark, her sense of adventure, her silly humor, and her ability to hold the world in a paper cup. And those lucky enough to drink from it will never forget her.

She is survived by her husband Charlie; her children, Olivia, Dashiel and Kayla; and by her siblings, Heidi Stanfield, Lance Cole, Eric Cole, Peter Cole, and Kajsa Weston; by 11 nephews and nieces and their spouses; and by eight grandnieces/grandnephews (with three more on the way). She was preceded in death by her mother, Joyce Dexter; her father, Roy Cole; and by her nephew, Shane Stanfield.

A ceremony in Jil’s honor will be held at 6 p.m. on Saturday, March 11, at Canyonlands by Night, 1861 N. U.S. Highway 191 in Moab, Utah. The family requests any donations be made either to the new infusion center at Moab Regional Hospital, or to the group Jil founded, the Canyonlands Cancer Support Group, through its 503c organization, Cancer Survivors of Moab Calendar (540 E. 100 North, Apt. 306, Moab UT 84532).