GRUTMAN, Renee Kapchuk, 70, died peacefully in her home on May 11, 2020 after a wonderful Mother's Day celebration with her family. She was the daughter of two very special people- Anne Stein & Marty Kapchuk. At age 3 her sister Fran Kapchuk (Anderson) was born, and they have been best friends ever since. Over the years their favorite activities may have changed from camp to casinos, but their commitment to each other, family and charity never wavered. They grew up surrounded by love, a million friends, and the very best pickles from Marty's Seashore Pickle Company. Renee attended Sable Palm Elementary, JFK Middle, and Norland High School. As a teen she met two of her dearest friends who are still her friends today, Candi Sharpe and Barbara Malkin. After school Renee worked as a bookkeeper at her uncle Jack Stein's iconic Miami Beach grocery store, Thrifty Supermarket. Thankfully, Uncle Jack never let her pay the bills on time and American Kosher was forced to send their dashing salesman Burt Grutman for collections. Burt fell in love with Renee instantly. After many requests, Renee said yes to their first date at Lion Country Safari. During the date a giraffe sat on their car and would not get off. Burt honked, flashed his lights, used his wipers but nothing worked and that's when Renee knew this was meant to be. In 1975 Burt and Renee got married and moved to Miami Lakes where they had their daughter Stephanie Grutman (Zauder) and son Ian Grutman. Soon after having Ian, the family moved to Cooper City. Living in the "Boonies" so far from her community was very lonely for Renee. Then one day, her only friend in town, Didi Browdy got her involved in PTA. The PTA is where Renee found her life-long home. As Stephanie and Ian grew up, she followed them to Griffin Elementary, Pioneer Middle, and Cooper City HS. Renee's PTA family is where Renee pursued her passion to help kids in need. At Burt and Renee's home, everyone was welcome for as long as they needed. When her sister Fran with husband John (Andy) Anderson and son Scott Anderson moved back South Florida, they lived with Burt and Renee until they found a home of their own. Later when Hurricane Andrew destroyed Kendall, Candi and Barry Sharpe two sons and two dogs lived with Burt and Renee until their home was rebuilt. And throughout the years their beloved nephew and bonus son David Grutman was always there for summers, breaks or just to make Renee laugh. Renee's joy was a home filled with family, friends, laughter, and charity. Burt and Renee were married for 29 years when Burt passed away in 2004. At the age of 52, Renee started her life over working at Dillards and with County Commissioner Lois Wexler while continuing her volunteer work for kids and campaigns. Eventually Renee turned her passion for kids into her profession by working at Cypress Bay HS, Piper HS, and most recently a joint position with Apollo Middle and McArthur High School. Renee continued her volunteer work on the Broward Education Foundation and the PTA. If you spent a minute with Renee, then you know her proudest achievement in the world was her family, children, and grandchildren. Renee's memory will be cherished always by Fran & Scott Anderson; Stephanie, Jason, Brooke & Adam Zauder; Ian Grutman; and David, Isabela, Kaia, & Vida Grutman; and the thousands of friends whose lives she touched. Due to Covid-19 Memorial Services will be held virtually on Thursday, May 14 at 11:00 am via Zoom Meeting ID: 921 5234 8816, Password: 0514. The family has asked for donations to the Renee & Burt Grutman Memorial fund in lieu of Shiva food or flowers so they continue Renee's legacy of helping kids in need www.BrowardedFoundation.org/ReneeAndBurt. Levitt-Weinstein Blasberg-Rubin-Zilbert (305) 932-2700
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Published in Sun-Sentinel on May 14, 2020.