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Bernice Kupsaw

December 14, 2017
Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

Bernice Kupsaw died peacefully at age 93 on December 28, 2016 in her Shell Point Arbor apartment with family at her side. She was born in New York City, April 24, 1923 to Russian-Jewish immigrant parents, David and Fannie Rabinowitz. As a child her father nicknamed her Bunny a moniker by which she was known the rest of her life. She grew up in the Bronx and commuted to Manhattan's Hunter High School and then Hunter College. During the Depression her father owned a small candy store. Bunny and friends would spend childhood Saturday's with bags of candy watching nickel movies at the local cinema.

At Far Rockaway Beach in Queens, when age 17 she met a friend of her older sister Jeanne's boyfriend. He was Murray Kupsaw of Paterson, New Jersey. Three years later, during the height of World War II they would marry. They lived in Austin Texas until Murray's army unit shipped out to the Pacific Theater. During the war years Bunny returned to New York; finished her college degree; and completed a master's degree in early childhood education at Columbia University.

After the war Murray and Bunny moved to Newington, Connecticut and started a baby boomer family. Wendy arrived in 1951, Robert Rusty in 1953 and Edith in 1959. After volunteering for years running the library at her children's elementary school, Bunny obtained a master's degree in library science at Southern Connecticut State University. She then began a long tenure as the librarian at another of her children's school, Martin Kellogg Junior High School.

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After nearly twenty years running the junior high library she retired in 1985. When Murray retired a few years later they moved to Sanibel where their son Rusty and his wife, Lena, live. As Grandma and Grandpa they were very involved in the lives of Rusty and Lena's six children. They spent much time at Big Arts volunteering, attending concerts and participating in programs. Bunny discovered a talent late in life after taking Newington High School's adult education painting course. She painted avidly in retirement. She also continued her lifelong passion for gardening.

In 2003 Bunny and Murray moved to a condo at Shell Point. True to form she took on the task of organizing the library at the Shell Point Pavilion. She continued to be a major presence in the lives of her nine grandchildren. Even in the last years of her life she would see them several times a week.

Bunny was predeceased by Murray in 2011. She is survived by her three children: Wendy Kupsaw (Shelley Rothenberg) of Oakland CA, Rusty Kupsaw (Lena) of Sanibel FL, and Edith Lawrence (Timothy) of Rochester NY; and her nine grandchildren: Griffin, Graham, Katherine, Claire, Samuel and Ava Kupsaw of Sanibel; Nathaniel and Eli Lawrence of Rochester and Sarah Rothenberg of Oakland.

Bunny is still best described by her high school yearbook caption: An old-fashioned bouquet of gentleness, generosity and happiness. She is sadly missed by all.



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