Mel Rappaport died Saturday, November 29, 2003 at St. Clares’ Hospital in Denville. He was 68.

Born in and raised in the Bronx, he had lived in Rockaway before moving to the Lake Hiawatha section of Parsippany in 1992. Mel served in the Army in Europe during the early 1950s. He had worked as a marketing manager with the J. Crew Company in Garfield for 35 years.

A real chess enthusiast, Mel was a long time USCF and NJSCF member, serving on the NJSCF Board of Directors until his death. He was also an active member of the Elmwood Park Chess Club and was a mainstay for years in the Morris County Industrial Chess League. He also achieved notoriety from the talented groups of players he put together as non-playing captain of “I’m Not Rappaport” in the U.S. Amateur Team East.

Survivors include his wife, Cynthia Valesio; a daughter, Robyn Staford; and a son, David Rappaport, both of North Carolina; a brother, Harold Rappaport of Brooklyn; one grandson; and his “companions,” Gunther and Dino.

His family has requested that Mel’s memory can be served by sending donations to the Parsippany Animal Shelter.


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