Obituary: Marilyn June Sopkia
Marilyn June Sopkia of Mattituck, New York, a former longtime Montclair resident, councilwoman and volunteer who was active in many township organizations, died peacefully at home after a brief illness on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021. She was 89.
Mrs. Sopkia was born in 1932 in Binghamton, New York, the oldest of the three children of Mary (née Didirka) and Roy Alden Payne.
She graduated from Binghamton Central High School in 1950 and attended the Binghamton State Hospital School of Nursing, graduating in 1953 with top honors as an award-winning operating room nurse. She then attended Hunter College in Manhattan for two years, with a focus on liberal arts. From 1953 to 1959 she worked at Metropolitan Hospital in Manhattan, first as a staff nurse and then as a head nurse in obstetrics and pediatric surgery.
She married Dr. Stephen J. Sopkia in 1957 in Elkton, Maryland. They moved from Manhattan to Montclair in 1963, where she resided until 2018, when she moved to the family summer residence on the North Fork of Long Island.
For more than four decades Mrs. Sopkia was a dedicated volunteer in Montclair and served in leadership positions and on many boards, including the Woman’s Club of Upper Montclair, the Visiting Nurse Association, the Red Cross, the Montclair Historical Society, Friends of the Montclair Free Public Library, Overseas Neighbors and the 125th Montclair Anniversary Committee.
She was passionate about politics her entire life and served as a Montclair Republican committeewoman for many years. In 1980 she was elected councilwoman representing the Second Ward, serving from 1980 to 1984, and was responsible for helping to draft and pass numerous laws.
Mrs. Sopkia also served on the boards of (and at times chaired) the New Jersey Federation of Republican Women, the Montclair Woman’s Republican Club and the Montclair Republican Club.
She loved opera and classical music, art, travel, cooking and fine dining, flower arranging, golfing, reading and telling entertaining stories and anecdotes about her family. She and her husband were members of the Montclair Golf Club for over 40 years.
Mrs. Sopkia is survived by her four children, Nadine Fritz (Roger), Steven Sopkia (Elaine Somerville), Linda Sopkia and John Sopkia (Jaya Miceli) and their son, Jarvis Stephen Sopkia.
She was predeceased by her husband of 59 years, Dr. Stephen J. Sopkia, her sister, Lorraine J. Witteman, and her brother, Roy A. Payne Jr.
A private burial and service were held on Long Island. Arrangements were by De Friest-Grattan Funeral Home in Mattituck.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Red Cross; better yet, please give blood!