NEW YORK, NY, DEC 1 2023 — Fra Ron Kapon’s Memorial funeral service drew a standing-room-only crowd at Riverside Memorial Chapel. Ron, 88, was the Sammy Tri-State Alumni Club’s eldest member, and proud of it.
Ron truly personified “love for and loyalty to alma mater and its ideals” with the scholarships he endowed to our SAM Foundation and Columbia University.
Among the many eulogies delivered were those by City Council Member Gail Brewer and NYS Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal. Several police captains and past precinct commanders were in attendance. Fra’s Scott Bloom and Michael Kawochka attended for Sammy Tri-State.
Ron was active in civics, politics, and basketball as well as wine and business, often mixing two or more together. He was a past president of the NYPD 20th precinct community council. He was involved in creating the midnight basketball program under then-Governor Mario Cuomo. According to a 2022 interview with the West Side Spirit, “It was better for kids to play basketball on Saturday night than just hang out and potentially get in trouble.”
“I first met Ron in 1994 and he was a loyal Sammy: he was the longtime chapter advisor at Gamma (Columbia); staunch supporter of Columbia and endowed a scholarship with the Sigma Alpha Mu Foundation. May his memory be a blessing.” said Fra Aaron Girson, CEO of the SAM Foundation in a Facebook post.
Ron worked in the wine and spirits field for more than 60 years. His family's business Acker, Merrall & Condit was established in 1820 and is the oldest wine merchant in the United States.
He graduated from Columbia College & the Graduate School of Business at Columbia University and moved to Europe where he developed his love for wine. Returning to operate his family's business he immediately knew his passion was teaching, writing & lecturing and so moved in that direction.
Ron began the wine programs at Queens College, New York Institute of Technology as well as C.W. Post. Traveling to the world's wine regions and writing about them took him to 149 countries.
In 1995 he organized the new wine program at the International School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Fairleigh Dickinson University and has taught both wine & spirits since then at their Hackensack campus. In addition, he taught the wine program at Hudson County Community College Culinary Arts in downtown Jersey City.
He was honored by the James Beard Foundation for his educational efforts.
An African proverb says, "When an old man dies A library burns to the ground." Gladly, our brother did establish before his death the Ron Kapon Wine Library at FDU with a donation of over 5,000 books, magazines, and articles.
Ron's articles were published in The Fifty Best, Cheese Connoisseur Magazine, Wine Country International, Real Travel Adventures, Everywhere Magazine, North American Travel Journalist Association, Travel World Magazine, AllWays Traveller, Local Wine Events, Tasters Guild Journal, Leisure Travel Report and FabSeniorTravel.
He was the co-author and co-producer of the FDU On-Line Wine Course developed for the NY Times Knowledge Network.
Ron was initiated at Columbia U in 1954.