Jacksonville City Council to honor life of WJXT’s Sharon Siegel-Cohen

Bill introduced Tuesday to honor beloved executive producer who lost battle with ALS

Sharon Siegel-Cohen holding an Emmy award in the WJXT newsroom. (Kathryn Bonfield/WJXT)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Our WJXT family continues to mourn beloved executive producer Sharon Siegel-Cohen, who lost a courageous battle this month with Lou Gehrig’s disease, or ALS.

Sharon touched countless lives in her remarkable career, which included more than three decades at Channel 4 and several prestigious journalism awards.

Her accomplishments and life are being recognized in a resolution that will be introduced Tuesday night to the Jacksonville City Council by Councilwoman Joyce Morgan, who was an anchor at WJXT in the 90s and early 2000s.

READ | City Council resolution to honor Sharon Siegel-Cohen

A Jacksonville native and a friend to hundreds, Sharon, 62, shaped countless lives in her work with WJXT, including scores of interns who came through our doors. Many of them eventually came to work for WJXT themselves, among them anchor and reporter Vic Micolucci.

The day Sharon passed, Micolucci posted a heartfelt tribute on Facebook, calling Sharon his dear friend, mentor, work mother and fearless leader.

“We are heartbroken,” he wrote. “She was simply the best.”

That sentiment was echoed by other interns, who all recounted Sharon’s joy in teaching them and her encouraging words and spirit.

Sharon, a Wolfson High and University of Florida alum, eventually became an advocate for a cure for the muscular disease she was diagnosed with in 2018.

Among the reasons for honoring Sharon, Morgan’s City Council resolution lists her advocacy and her awards — an Edward R. Murrow Award, several Emmy and Associated Press awards, and a Peabody Award for “Behind Closed Doors,” a public service effort on the complex problems of domestic violence.

Morgan also highlighted Sharon’s compassion, calling her “unfailingly caring” to everyone she met, both professionally and personally.

Sharon was notorious for her birthday songs and farewell serenades when a member of our TV family left. She roasted colleagues in her own quirky way, often through parodies of popular songs.

She greeted everyone with a smile, a hug and a joke because she felt people shouldn’t take life too seriously.

Despite her humor, telling important stories in our community was no laughing matter for the lifelong journalist, who started at WJXT in 1979, left for a little while and then returned to finish the last 33 years of her career.

After her diagnosis, Sharon helped raise thousands of dollars for research and treatment options for ALS.

Not all of Sharon's Songbirds squeezed into the all- team picture after the walk.

She remains an inspiration to so many.

“She never complained,” recalled anchor Mary Baer. “I’ve never heard her complain through the 28 years I’ve known her. And she never complained at the end, truly an inspiration.”

Morgan’s City Council resolution “honors and commemorates the life and accomplishments of Sharon Siegel-Cohen and extends to her family, friends and countless admirers the city’s most sincere condolences.”

It also recognizes “her unfailing optimism, good humor and positivity in the face of a life-altering challenge."

“She will be long and gratefully remembered as a truly inspirational mentor and friend,” Morgan wrote.

Sharon is survived by her parents Eddie and Helen Siegel who live in San Jose, her son Martin, who is in dental school, and her sister, Frances, in Atlanta.

About the Author:

A Jacksonville native and proud University of North Florida alum, Francine Frazier has been with News4Jax since 2014 after spending nine years at The Florida Times-Union.