Dying Judge Officiates Daughter’s Same-Sex Wedding From Hospital Bed

Dying Judge Officiates Daughter’s Same-Sex Wedding From Hospital Bed

A New Jersey judge was able to fulfill his daughter’s wish of officiating at her wedding right before his death. 

According to InsideEdition, Casey Kapalko, 27, had seen her dad, Monmouth Superior Court Judge Paul Kapalko, officiate many weddings in her life, so naturally, she hoped he could officiate her own. 

“I think it was one of the things he loved most about being a judge,” Casey told InsideEdition. “Two of the things were adoption day and weddings. He was a cheesy guy, but when it came time to perform weddings he took it very seriously because he knew how important the moment was for the couple.”

In 2011, Judge Kapalko was diagnosed with pancreatic carcinoids and doctors told him he had four to five years to live. When Casey got engaged to her partner, Stephanie Vazquez, in December  2016, her last wish was to have her father there to officiate her wedding. 

“We were aiming for November 2017 wedding. We had sort of talked about that, but really soon after that, we thought November would be a stretch,” Casey said.

The couple originally wanted to get married in Casey’s mom’s backyard and have Casey’s mother and father walk her down the aisle. In April, however, Kapalko was admitted to the ICU and he was only allowed limited visitors due to contamination. 

“Stephanie and I had already applied for the marriage license,” Casey told InsideEdition.com. “When he moved to the ICU we said, ‘This is really serious. Maybe we should try to make this [the wedding] happen.” So, on April 15, Casey asked Vasquez is she was ready to do it ‘today’ and nurses arranged for eight people to be allowed in Kapalko’s hospital room. 

“It was surreal. We all had our masks and gloves on. I had two friends FaceTiming in,” Casey said. “My dad was as cool as a cucumber. He became the guy I had seen officiate so many weddings. He went off script and was really personal. He offered advice and said some really beautiful things. It felt unreal.”

Kapalko died on April 27, just 12 days after the wedding at age 62. Casey says she will always cherish the special moment she shared with her father and his name will forever be on her marriage license. 

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[Featured Image Credit: YouTube- Inside Edition]