Margaret “Peggy” Lisa Capone, a longtime board of education member of the Greater Egg Harbor Regional School District and a former member of the Hamilton Township School Board, both in Atlantic County, died Aug. 1, 2023, at her home and surrounded by family after an extended illness, according to her obituary. She was 60 years old.
Born in Buffalo, New York, she spent her youth in Bowie and Pasadena, Maryland, where she grew up with her parents and eight siblings.
A graduate of the University of Maryland, she also attended Queens College Law School. She was a business owner and volunteer in several organizations, including the Hamilton Township PTA and the Atlantic County Democratic Committee.
In a post on its website, the Greater Egg Harbor Regional School District stated, “It is with the heaviest of hearts that we share that Greater Egg Board Member Peggy Capone passed away after a lengthy illness. Peggy served her community in a variety of roles over the years, with the last 9 years as a member of our Board of Education. Few people in any role within this district have been stronger advocates for our students or celebrated their successes more than Peggy. We thank her for her dedication and service and extend her family and loved ones our deepest condolences.”
Carol Houck, president of the Greater Egg Harbor Regional School District Board of Education, said, “Peggy was an integral member of the GEHRHSD board. From the day that Peggy became part of the board, she was unafraid to speak up for what she believed was best for our students and the community. She was the strongest woman I have ever met and worked tirelessly for what she believed in. She challenged everyone to consider the impact of our decisions and would often ask, ‘Is this the best thing to do for our students?’ Her influence will carry on as we continue to advocate for every student to feel supported and help them find success.”
Anne Erickson, a former board member of the Greater Egg Regional School District, who served alongside Capone, said, “Peggy Capone was a passionate advocate for social justice, equity, ecology and academic achievement.” She added that she “wanted every student to feel there was at least one person in the school who truly understood and supported them.”
Capone also challenged other board members to get more training, Erickson said. “She was completing her third term on the Greater Egg Harbor School District Board of Education, having previously served on the PK-8 Hamilton Township School Board,” she said. “Both boards achieved the Carole E. Larsen award while Peg served on them.”
Her favorite parts of any board meeting were the presentations by students, celebrating a victory, or performing a song from their upcoming show, Erickson said. “The entire community and her beautiful family will miss her. Attending her youngest daughter’s high school graduation was one of her last acts as a board member.”
At the time of her death, Capone was running to be the Atlantic County Executive. Atlantic County Democratic Chairman Michael Suleiman expressed his sadness upon hearing of her death. In a statement he said, “In addition to being a passionate and committed Democratic volunteer and activist, Peggy served honorably for years as a member of the Greater Egg Harbor Regional High School District Board of Education. In particular, Peggy should be commended for stepping up earlier this year and running for Atlantic County Executive, not being afraid of the consequences of running like so many other challengers have been in the past. It’s indicative of how tough Peggy was.”
He continued, “As much as she loved politics and public service, her greatest passion was her family. She was so incredibly proud of her children, and our deepest sympathies go out to them and her husband, Christopher.”
According to her obituary, Capone was a fierce defender of every living creature, some of which were occasionally checked into her makeshift home rehab. She was also a passionate advocate for human and women’s rights, social equity, environmental causes and voter registration. She will be remembered by many for her volunteer efforts in elections both small and large.
Peggy is predeceased by her parents, Frank and Connie Kelly; and in-laws Carmen and Laurel Capone and her infant granddaughter Ember Lane Capone. She is survived by her loving husband, Christopher; and her children, Mary Kay (Shawn) Grout, Matthew (Rebekah) Capone, Connie (Michael) Capone and Catherine “Cece” Capone; a granddaughter, Laureli Grout; and a nephew Dan (Tania) Capone. Additionally, she is survived by eight brothers and sisters: Maureen (Bob) Spiers, William (Patti) Kelly, Sue (Byron) Heller, Karen (Mark) Baker, Patrick (Janice) Kelly, Teresa (Bob) East, Seana (Nelson) Coffin and Michael (Julie) Kelly; and many nieces and nephews.
The family wishes to thank the entire staff of AtlantiCare Cancer Center, Hospice, Bozeman Deaconess Hospital and staff, Pastor Heather Sugden, neighbors and friends for their unwavering support.
A gathering will be held from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023, at Parsels Funeral Home, 324 New Jersey Ave., Absecon. A service will follow at 2:30 p.m. For online condolences, please visit her obituary.