An Invaluable Gift: Education
John Carapella ’34 and his sister, Jeanne Freeman,
Honored Posthumously at Lifetime Giving Society Dinner
for their Estate Gifts
March 10, 2009
Hub Bury ’35 and John Carapella ’34 both graduated from Allentown High School in 1930. Bury took a year off to work prior to starting college, but both ended up at Muhlenberg, and graduated within a year of each other.
Bury remembers Carapella as a pre-med student who studied hard and graduated near the top of his class. A lifelong Allentown resident, he was the son of the owner of a hot dog stand on Seventh Street a few doors down from the Livingston Club, which boasted General Harry C. Trexler as a member. While at Muhlenberg, Carapella was a member of the Ciarla staff and the Phi Sigma Iota and Phi Alpha Theta honor societies.
Carapella went on to complete his residency at Thomas Jefferson University and became a general practitioner in Allentown. He married later in life, and he and his wife, Josephine, never had children. “She passed away in the VNA Hospice of St. Luke's Hospital, Bethlehem after suffering from Alzheimer’s,” says Bury. “After her death, John moved in with his sister, Jeanne Freeman.”
Carapella assured Bury, who is a member of the Circle of 1848, Muhlenberg’s planned giving society, that he intended to match Bury’s generosity to the College by designating a gift to Muhlenberg through his estate. It was a promise he kept.
Dr. Carapella passed away on September 24, 2006. While he had made some modest gifts to Muhlenberg over the years, his estate included gifts of more than $300,000 to both Muhlenberg College and Thomas Jefferson University. The funds to Muhlenberg were designated as unrestricted.
His sister, Jeanne, was married to Muhlenberg alumnus, John Freeman ’34. She passed away just before Christmas, 2007. At the time of her death, she had designated that monies from a trust be given to Muhlenberg College to establish The John D. Carapella ’34 Scholarship in memory of her brother. “Her will provisions could have easily been designated for another institution as both her brother and husband continued their higher education at Thomas Jefferson and Lehigh respectively, but Jeanne knew the impact of their Muhlenberg education in their lives and wanted to honor that,” explains cousin and power of attorney over Jeanne’s estate, Albert Mariano.
Carapella’s legacy was honored recently at the annual Lifetime Giving Society Dinner, an event recognizing cumulative lifetime giving of more than $100,000 to the College. Mariano attended as a representative of the family and plans to continue on as point of contact for the scholarship. Mariano reflects, “Muhlenberg meant so much, not only to John, but the entire Carapella/Freeman family. It was an honor and a privilege to attend on behalf of John and it was wonderful of the College to honor him so appropriately. I just cannot wait to meet the student who receives his scholarship. I will say to them ‘On behalf of my cousin, John, welcome to Muhlenberg! This is the beginning of a great opportunity and journey to gain something that was invaluable to John – an education.’”
Since its founding in 1989, the Circle of 1848 has had a substantial impact on the quality of learning Muhlenberg offers its students. Membership is open to all Muhlenberg alumni, parents, faculty, staff and friends who name the College as a beneficiary in their estate plan through their will, life insurance policy, trust or retirement plan, or through their accumulates assets. Estate gifts from Circle members have a substantial impact on the quality of learning Muhlenberg offers its students and ensure the continued vitality and development of the College from one generation to the next.