Mrs. Beatrice B. Capen

Mrs. Beatrice B. Capen


Let us remember the life and ministry of Beatrice Blanche Capen, 81, who died suddenly of a massive stroke on Thursday, October 25, 2018. She was born July 9, 1937 to Blanche and George W. Newton of North Granby, CT. 

Bea was the wife of Rev. John Capen, a retired elder who is currently appointed to Athens Federated Church and High Hill UMC. Previous to his retirement they served North Canton Community and Washington Hill UMCs in CT; Rondout Valley and Kripplebush UMCs in Stone Ridge, NY; and Gardnertown UMC in Newburgh, NY. Their daughter Beth Capen is a member of the Judicial Council of The United Methodist Church.

Bea began her schooling in a one-room schoolhouse in North Granby. She graduated from Simsbury High School in 1955 and went on to receive her bachelor and masters degrees from SUNY New Paltz.

She began her professional career at Pratt and Whitney Aircraft, rising to the position of executive secretary, but it was her eventual love for education that brought her to teaching and work in academia as professor and chair of the English Department and co-president of the faculty union at SUNY Ulster. While at SUNY Ulster she received a special award from the Modern Language Association.

Bea’s strong feelings for quality education extended beyond the college to the Rondout Valley School system. She was elected to the Board of Education, serving for nine years in various capacities including vice-president. She was a Girl Scout leader for her daughter's troop, president of the Newburgh Lions Club (2007-08), and a member of various committees at the local, district and conference levels of The United Methodist Church. She also sang with her church choir.

Bea was an avid reader and a NY Yankees fan. She loved traveling and camping, as well as the annual family reunion at Craigville Conference Center on Cape Cod. At the age of 68, Bea surprised many of her family and friends by taking on the sport of sky diving. Her grandchildren and students loved hearing about this adventurous side of her.

She was a dear friend and counselor to many of her co-workers and to those who knew her in support groups and fellowship groups. Bea’s spirit of generosity and selflessness continued after her passing as she was able to donate her liver to someone in the Northeastern US, and her bladder to Long Island for scientific research.

Bea is survived by the love of her life, her husband of sixty years, John Capen. She was a loving mother and grandmother, who encouraged the interests and pursuits of her daughters (her Little Women) Beth Capen, Meg Capen (Aerin Burke), Amy Capen (Mike Polcari), and Joanne Sorbello (Joseph); and her four grandchildren Beatrice Capen-Guldy, Jacob Lovegren, and John and Julia Caster. Other surviving family members include sisters Marcia Martin, Cathryn Woodruff Grahn, and Deborah Newton McKeon. She was pre-deceased by her sister, Phyllis Dauphinais Sheak. 

A memorial service celebrating Bea’s life will be held on Sunday, November 11th at 2 pm, at the Rondout Valley UMC, 25 Schoonmaker Ln, Stone Ridge, NY. In lieu of flowers, donations may be given to Marbletown First Aid, Rondout Valley Lions, Rondout Valley Education Foundation, or Rondout Valley UMC (PO Box 295, Stone Ridge NY 12484). Messages of condolence may be sent to John and her daughters at 18 North Franklin St, Athens, NY 12015.