Elegant 16

Virginia Kamin

April 15, 1933 ~ July 2, 2021 (age 88)






Beloved for her kindness and generosity, Fair Haven resident Virginia P. Kamin taught for more than 40 years in the Fair Haven Public Schools and played a wider role as the wife of the late Arthur Z. Kamin, longtime editor of The Daily Register.  


Mrs. Kamin, who was 88 and known as “Ginny,” died Friday (July 2) at The Atrium at Navesink Harbor, with her son and daughter at her side, after a long battle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.


From 1964 to 2000, Mrs. Kamin taught hundreds of students in the Fair Haven schools, a tall, stylishly-dressed woman who towered over her elementary school charges. She continued teaching part-time for years after retirement, serving as a mentor to younger teachers who, in turn, passed on her lessons to teachers they mentored.


Upon her official retirement in 2000, the school system issued a proclamation, writing that Mrs. Kamin had “carried out her responsibilities with the highest degree of dedication, integrity and pride.”


It also praised her for “consistently responding with kindness to the needs of students, colleagues, and parents.”


Born Virginia Dorothy Palew in Brooklyn in 1933, the future Mrs. Kamin was the older daughter of  Sidney and Sylvia  Palew, who later lived in an apartment over their Ben Franklin store in Ridgefield Park, N.J. 


From her father, in particular, she developed a sharp eye for a bargain, reveling In the chance to snap up items at a deep discount.


After her family moved to nearby Teaneck, Mrs. Kamin graduated from Teaneck High School in 1951. She graduated from the New Jersey College for Women (later Douglass College and now Douglass Residential College) in 1955 and Monmouth College (now Monmouth University) with a masters in education in 1978.


She sought the advanced degree, she said, to become a learning specialist who could interact with children in small groups or one-on-one rather than managing a large classroom. As a specialist, she worked with youngsters who were dyslexic or had ADHD before those terms were in common use.


She was also attentive to the needs of children in Fair Haven’s African-American community, often providing them with personal guidance.


While at the New Jersey College for Women, the sister school of Rutgers College, Mrs. Kamin met her future husband, editor of the campus newspaper. They were married for 60 years and lived in a historic, white-columned house along picturesque Shippee’s Pond in Fair Haven. Mr. Kamin died in 2015.


As an editor’s wife, Mrs. Kamin interacted with public figures including former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean, state Supreme Court Associate Justice Daniel J. O’Hern, former U.S. ambassador to Denmark Katharine Elkus White, business leaders and generals from Fort Monmouth. The Register, originally based in Red Bank and later Shrewsbury, ceased publication in 1991.


In recent years, Mrs. Kamin volunteered at the Two River Theater and Riverview Medical Center, both in Red Bank, and at Congregation B’nai Israel in Rumson, where she was a longtime member.


Survivors include her son Blair, formerly The Chicago Tribune’s architecture critic, and his wife Barbara Mahany of Wilmette, Illinois; her daughter Brooke Kamin Rapaport, Deputy Director and Martin Friedman Chief Curator at Madison Square Park Conservancy in New York City and her husband Richard Rapaport of Manhattan; a sister, Joni Sommer of Montgomery County, Maryland; and five cherished grandsons—Will and Teddy Kamin, and Elliott, Owen and Hart Rapaport.


The family will hold a private memorial service. The John E. Day Funeral Home is handling arrangements. Donations can be made to the Riverview Medical Center Foundation and Lunch Break in Red Bank.



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