Surrounded by loving family members as she was throughout her life, June Cronig Kapell, 82, of Teaneck, N.J. and Vineyard Haven, died peacefully on Sunday, March 2. Born and raised in Vineyard Haven, she was one of the three daughters of Henry and Mae Cronig, one of the founding families of the Martha's Vineyard Hebrew Center. Her family was among the first Jewish families to settle on the Vineyard, and they made significant and generous contributions to the Island community. A graduate of Cornell University, June obtained a Masters Degree at New York University and taught biochemistry at the NYU Dental School in New York City. She moved from the Vineyard to Teaneck in 1958, where she dedicated her life to her family, and focused her energies on education, local politics, and worthy causes. An active member of the Teaneck Political Assembly, various PTA's and other volunteer organizations, she was a strong advocate for equal rights, regardless of ethnicity or gender. She continued her commitment to activism on the Vineyard, where she was a founding member of Tisbury Waterways Inc. and was actively involved with the Martha's Vineyard Hebrew Center.
An avid gardener, she provided fresh greens, flowers, and jars of her own line of Juniper Jams organic jams and jellies to friends and family. Despite the failing eyesight of her later years, she was an avid reader and music enthusiast who enjoyed good discussions, Scrabble and late-night card games.
June was the heart and soul of a loving extended family. Throughout her life, she carried on the traditions of hospitality that her family was so well known for. She thought nothing of including 20 or so last-minute guests at her dinner table, and her home was always filled with company, children, and pets. She seemed to bring out the best in people, making everyone feel special and welcome.
June's legacy is one of warmth, kindness, and a demonstration of the importance of family. The wife of the late David S. Kapell, she is survived by her two sisters, Shirley Cronig Smith and Carole Cronig Abrahams, and her three children, Elisa Kapell of Pacific Palisades, Calif., Joseph Kapell and his wife Barbara of Trumbull, Conn., and Robert Kapell and his wife Lauren of Mystic, Conn. She was the loving grandmother of seven grandchildren, Thomas, Randall, and Katherine Cook; Taylor, Kara, and Matthew Kapell; and, Alexandra Kapell as well as being "Grandma" to their three grand-dogs - Joss, Dakota, and Martha.
A funeral service was held at 3 pm on Wednesday, March 5, at Gutterman and Musicant Funeral Home in Hackensack, New Jersey. A memorial service will be held on the Vineyard during the summer.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Martha's Vineyard Community Services at Development Office, 111 Edgartown Rd., Vineyard Haven, MA 02568, or to T.W.I. Inc. online at tisburywaterways.org.