Former New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Charles Kuperus Passes Away
SUSSEX, NJ — Charles Kuperus, passionate advocate for agriculture and former Secretary of Agriculture for New Jersey, passed away at the age of 57.
Family members said Kuperus died on Wednesday at his Sussex home, according to the Associated Press, after battling cancer.
Born on August 5, 1958, in Sussex, Charles has been married to his high school sweetheart Marjorie for 36 years. Together they founded Kuperus Farmside Gardens, and he became a loving father and grandfather.
Charles oversaw the preservation of 1,100 farms spanning about 85,000 acres in the nation’s most densely populated state, increasing its total preserved farmland to more than 171,000 acres, according to his online biography. This accounts for more than 21 percent of New Jersey’s total agricultural land base, the highest percentage in the nation.
He also spearheaded the expansion of the Jersey Fresh brand, ultimately helping growing agricultural cash receipts and helping to push the economic trend in an upward direction for the state’s farmers. Charles served the state through several posts, including the Sussex County Board of Agriculture, the New Jersey Farm Bureau and the State Planning Commission.
Charles believed in the power and strength of Jesus Christ's love and the beauty and peace that would await him after his passing, and previously served at Sussex Christian Reformed Church, on the Sussex Christian School Board and on the Christian Schools International Board.
A man who enjoyed gardening, reading, and playing with his grandchildren, his family said he will be most remembered for his incredible enthusiasm for the faith and his uncanny ability to take a genuine interest in anyone's life wherever he went.
Charles is survived by his children, C. Mark and Michelle, of Lafayette, Katherine, of New York, N.Y., Jonathan and Rachel, of Haskell, James and Katherine, of North Haledon, Annette and Carlos Franco, of Morristown, and David and Alexandra, of Ridgewood; his cherished grandchildren, Charlotte, Stella, Matthew, Penelope and Grace; his siblings, Grace Datema (Jack), of Zeeland, Mich., Henrietta Van De Weert (Roy), of Goshen, N.Y., John Kuperus (Helen), of Wantage, Miles Kuperus Jr. (Lisa), of Wantage, and Anne Amels (John), of Wantage.
The family sends thanks to John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center and Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice, Newton, for the wonderful care given.
Family received friends on Monday, Jan. 4, from 3 to 7 p.m. at Sussex Christian Reformed Church, 51 Unionville Ave., Sussex, according to the New Jersey Herald. Friends and family are invited to attend a memorial service on Tuesday, Jan. 5, at 10:30 a.m. at Sussex Christian Reformed Church.
Memorial donations may be made to Sussex Christian School and Eastern Christian High School.
For condolences and directions, please go to www.fergusonsussexfuneralhome.com.
The AndNowUKnow team would like to offer our condolences to family and friends of Charles for the loss that they have experienced.