Stephen Anthony Capperell passed away in Charlotte, NC, at age 48 on Tuesday, August 29, from cancer.
He is predeceased by grandparents Vernon E. and Janis (Wheeler) Vrana, grandfather Anthony G. Capperell, and step-grandfather James L. Schultz. Survived by his parents, Robert A. and Mary E. (Vrana) Capperell; brother Kenneth A. (Laura E. Heim) Capperell, uncle to Cecelia, Carson, and Cassidy; grandmother Constance (Articolo) Capperell Schultz; nephew of Edward E. (Pamela Anderson) Vrana and Anne Marie Vrana (Michael G.) Zeigler; step-nephew of Sherri Schultz (Michael) Danton and James R. (Patricia) Schultz, many cousins; and daughter, Nina Adele Capperell.
Stephen was born in Rochester, NY, at Rochester General Hospital on Wednesday, May 14, 1975.
When Stephen was 12 months old, he took swimming lessons (Little Drops and Moms) at the YMCA on Long Pond Road for 3 weeks. He learned to read at age 4 by watching Sesame Street and Electric Company, then started kindergarten at Parkland Elementary School on English Road in Greece through 3rd grade. In kindergarten he continued with swimming lessons and was very interested in drawing. He was also very bored doing numbers and letters and wanted to do something harder, so the school psychologist tested him to possibly skip 1st grade. He was already reading at a 4.3 grade level, spelling at a 3rd grade level, and doing math at a 2.8 grade equivalent. Since his average score was 3/4 of the way through 2nd grade, they decided not to skip him for social reasons, saying "he knew more than the 1st graders did anyway". In 1st grade he continued to enjoy swimming and drawing. In 2nd grade at age 7, he started taking piano lessons from Anna Santillo a few houses down the street for the next 10 years, joined Indian Guides, and started taking skiing lessons at Power Mills Park in Pittsford at age 7 1/2. In 3rd grade he joined Cub Scout Pack 175 and played in Greece Little League (right fielder). Stephen went to Paddy Hill Elementary School in 4th grade at the corner of Latta & Mt. Read Blvd. for only 1 year since his teacher recommended him for the gifted program (Delphi) at Craig Hill Elementary School on the other side of Greece (5 miles away). He said there wasn't anything he could teach Stephen in his class. He was tested by the WISC Test Profile, scoring an IQ of 140 in the 99th percentile. While at Paddy Hill he joined Shuttle Club, started taking clarinet lessons, and was in band and chorus. He used his drawing skills to win 2nd place for a poster during Fire Prevention Week. In 5th grade Stephen was voted "best artist boy" and "most creative boy" by his class at Craig Hill and was a 10th finalist in the Greece Spelling Bee. In 6th grade Stephen became a Boy Scout in Troop 175, earning 13 badges and then going to Massawepie Scout Camp for 2 weeks during the summer in the Adirondack Mountains in northern NY state.
For 7th and 8th grade Stephen went to Athena Middle School on Long Pond Road. In 7th grade he was in symphonic band and wind ensemble, on the Honor Roll all year, earned 10 more merit badges, and joined Ski Club. He went with the Boy Scouts on a 4-day Gettysburg trip, spelunking at Schoharie Creek, and Massawepie/Mt. Marcy trip for 12 days. In 8th grade Stephen continued with piano and clarinet lessons, Ski Club, and Boy Scouts where he earned 6 more merit badges and became a Star Scout. During the summer Stephen went to Massawepie for 8 days, and a Boston trip for 5 days. He also became a substitute paperboy for the Times Union.
Stephen started his freshman year at Arcadia High School on Island Cottage Road and became a paperboy for the Times Union after school. He also started playing bass clarinet in symphonic band, was on the honor roll, and continued on with Boy Scouts as a Life Scout, as well as Ski Club. In 10th grade he took jazz piano lessons from Fred DiCesare since he was now playing keyboard in the Jazz Ensemble while also playing bass clarinet in Symphonic Band. As a junior Stephen was inducted into the National Honor Society and on the Honor Roll. In his senior year he won the 4-year Perfect Attendance Award and the Presidential Academic Fitness Award, while also continuing with jazz piano lessons, a paperboy, and working at Party City in Greece.
Stephen earned the rank of Eagle Scout at age 15, earning 21 merit badges, holding leadership positions as librarian, assistant patrol leader, and patrol leader, and completing his Eagle project at English Road Park in 9th grade. His project consisted of the leveling and widening of a berm, laying down garden edging and weed tamer, and planting various bushes on the berm. This was accomplished with the help of other Troop scouts, the Town of Greece Dept. of Public Works, and Paul Holahan. While a sophomore, Stephen's Eagle Court of Honor was held at Paddy Hill School where he also received his "100 Nights of Camping Badge", and then about 6 other Scouts decided that they also wanted to become Eagle Scouts. Stephen also earned his Bronze Palm at age 16 by being active in his Troop for 3 more months while earning 5 more merit badges. As a junior, Stephen earned his Gold Palm, and in his senior year his Silver Palm (due to earning 10 more merit badges) and his 7th year in Boy Scouts. He was the only scout in his Troop who went beyond the rank of Eagle, earning 36 merit badges.
Stephen graduated from Arcadia High School in 1993 at Kodak Theater on the Ridge. Then he went to the University of Buffalo for 3 years and then transferred to Rochester Institute of Technology where he was in the 5-year co-op program, earning a BS degree in Electrical Engineering in 1999. He also got his Master's in Informational Technology at RIT.
Stephen was a baseball fan, followed the Toronto Blue Jays, and his favorite player was Fred McGriff. He was a rabid NY Giants fan (along with his dad and brother) and later followed the Buffalo Sabres.
As a teenager Stephen started collecting sports trading cards along with his dad and brother. They went to trading card shows to try to pick up the cards they were missing to complete sets. He was missing a John Smoltz card, and one of the vendors said he had one but it wasn't with him. He gave us his phone number and said we could come over to his house to get it. When he saw how serious Stephen was with the hobby, he gave him the card. That event lead to a relationship which continues today. We actually partnered with Carl and Gail, set up at many shows, and Stephen was at almost all of them with us.
When Stephen was 7, his dad was an active Alpine skier and asked him if he wanted to give it a try. He surprised his dad and said "yes". He started out with beginner lessons at Powder Mills Park with hot chocolate and donuts after each lesson. One of the most memorable moments from the lessons was that at the completion of them they went to the big mountain - Swain. It was one of these days where the temperature was about 15 degrees and the wind was blowing pretty hard. The lift stopped for some reason, and his dad was complaining about how rotten it was sitting in the chair freezing. Stephen said "I feel sorry for people in Florida today. They can't ski". Stephen continued skiing after graduation.
Stephen had an interest in role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons, which he was good at, and continued to play after moving to Charlotte.
After graduation Stephen worked in Buffalo commuting from Rochester until 2012 when he moved to Amherst, then eventually moving to Charlotte, NC, in 2016 to work at Wells Fargo. Before Stephen died, he just started a new job at PNC Bank.
Calling hours will be held on Sunday, September 24, from 12pm to 2pm, at New Comer Cremations & Funerals, 2636 Ridgeway Ave. in Greece, his family will be sharing memories immediately following calling hours at 2pm.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be directed to the American Cancer Society.
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