Joan “Ginger” Contillo, of Highland Lakes, N.J., passed away peacefully at Karen Ann Quinlan Home for Hospice on June 6, 2022, at the age of 65, in the company of her family members.
Ginger was born on April 11, 1958, in Englewood, N.J. She grew up in Paramus, N.J., and at a very young age, she knew she was going to be a teacher. After graduating from Paramus High School in 1975, she went on to college, graduating with a bachelor’s degree from Kean University in elementary/special education. Ginger’s heart has always been a heart-of-gold, willing to help whoever needed it the most.
Ginger was a special education teacher in the Apshawa Elementary School for many years and retired in 2013. She was devoted to her students and made a significant, positive impact on the many children who came through her classroom and is remembered fondly by the many families she served. In a field that attracts devoted teachers, she stood out for the love, care, patience, empathy, and skill she brought to that vocation.
Ginger struggled for many years with cancer. She faced those struggles with grace, grit, and determination, and without complaint.
Her friend Bill W. helped see her through the last seven years of her life, and she, in turn, reborn, helped, and inspired others to confront life’s challenges with spirituality.
Ginger will be dearly missed by her former students, their families, devoted friends, and family. She is survived by her loving daughters Cat Contillo and spouse Traci Yaple, of Wappingers Falls, N.Y., and Sarah Sandsmark and husband Kirk of Hanover, Penn., and by the loves of her life, her grandchildren Brayden and Easton. Ginger was predeceased by her mother Kathleen Contillo. She is survived by her father, Paul, her brother Robert (and Christine) Contillo, and her sisters Debra Contillo-Davis (and Douglas Davis), Kait Contillo, Pegie Contillo and her sister Angela (and James) Andersen. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews who also loved her dearly.
In honor of Ginger’s life, the family is asking if you have a memory or a kind word to share about Ginger, please send to this email: email@example.com. Donations may be made in Ginger’s memory to the Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice: 99 Sparta Ave, Newton, NJ 07860, or at karenannquinlanhospice.org.