Albert Appel, Founder of Appel Farm Arts Camp, Dies at Age 98

By: Michael Mandarino, Follow South Jersey Assignment Editor

Photo: Appel Farm Arts Camp via Facebook

ELMER, N.J. — Albert Appel, one of the founders of Appel Farm Arts & Music Campus, passed away at the age of 98 on August 25.

Appel and his wife, Clare, started the Appel Farm Arts Camp in 1960 by turning their 176-acre plot of land into a place for children to attend an arts camp. The camp grew into a local festival that attracted musical performers, volunteers, and attendees from many different places annually.

“He is beloved by thousands of Appel Farmers, and we will all miss him with the big, big love of this beautiful community,” Appel Farms’ Facebook page said. “Albert’s joy, his creativity and vision for a better more equitable world shine in every single one of us, and we will honor him with our radical empathy, our fight for what’s right, and our wild creativity.”

Since its creation in 1960, Appel Farms Art Camp has become a staple of the South Jersey community. Children from the ages of 7-17 can attend the summer camp on the farm for two, four, six, or eight-week sessions. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, however, camp sessions were held virtually from July 6 through August 14. Despite the challenges brought forward by virtual learning, Appel Farms still held weekly classes via Discord — an online platform with voice and text chat capabilities.

In addition to the summer camp, Appel Farms hosts many different after-school programs, and it recently celebrated its 60th anniversary with a family camp weekend beginning on August 21.

Appel is survived by wife Peimin Appel, sister Caroline Schoenbach (Joseph); children Judith Monroe (Doug), Aliza Appel, Toby Appel (Carolyn), and Julius Appel (Diana); step daughter Yi Guo; grandchildren Mischa and Ariel Monroe, Rebecca and Anna Morgan, Jordan and Shelly Appel, and Rochelle Oliver; great-grandchildren Ava, Ryan, Joshua, Nicholas, and Elizabeth Monroe; nieces and nephews Ruth, Hannah, and David Schoenbach, Daniel and David Rostan; and a much loved extended Kivnik and Appel Family. He was buried at the Alliance Cemetery in Norma, New Jersey on August 28.

Follow South Jersey provides local journalism which highlights our diverse communities; fosters transparency through robust, localized, and vital reporting that holds leaders and institutions accountable; addresses critical information needs; supports people in navigating civic life; and equips people with the information necessary to partake in effective community engagement. If there is a story or event you think we should cover, please send your tips to with “NEWS” in the subject line.