hile some kids might be intimidated to have a judge for a dad, Casey and Christina grew up in awe. To them, their father wasn’t just someone who upheld the law, but also an avid Yankees fan who loved visiting the beach at Asbury Park and doing crossword puzzles.
But in 2011, Paul was hit with a life-changing diagnosis that would put his family to the test.
Doctors discovered that Paul was suffering from carcinoid, a cancer that can take years to detect, and they told him he had only four or five years to live.
The former Monmouth Superior Court Judge, however, held on much longer than anyone expected.
And he showed no signs of giving up when his eldest daughter, Casey Kapalko, 27, became engaged to her partner Stephanie in 2016.
He even offered to officiate their wedding the following November, a childhood dream of his daughter’s.
“He was always well-spoken, so thoughtful in his words,” Casey told the Asbury Park Press. “We both wanted him to do it.”
Unfortunately, Paul’s health began to deteriorate and, suddenly, things any other couple might worry about, like venues or flowers, became the last thing on anyone’s mind.
“He’d keep telling the doctors and nurses let’s make it to May 6,” his younger daughter Christina Kapalko, 23, told the paper.
But further deteriorations in her father’s health convinced Casey that there was simply too much at stake to wait any longer, and on April 15th, the family pulled together a wedding ceremony right there in the ICU at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, New Jersey.
It would be his last official duty as a judge, as he passed away just two weeks later on April 27th.
But not before leaving his daughters with the memories and wisdom that will last them a lifetime.
“He had plans to go to one more Yankee game with me in this the summer of 2017, but he passed away just weeks before we got the chance,” Christina writes on her fundraising page for the Danyon Runyon 5K.
She’ll be running in the event this Saturday, July 15th, to raise funds for cancer research and honor her father’s life, fittingly, at her father’s favorite venue: Yankee Stadium.