Susan E. Krupnick, 68, of Society Hill, a teacher who was the owner and operator of Kamikaze Kids, a children’s clothing store in Philadelphia, died at home Thursday, June 28, after an eight-year battle with breast cancer.
Mrs. Krupnick began her career as a nursery-school teacher in northern New Jersey. She taught children at the Pine Street Church Preschool and later taught special education at the Child Development Center in Norristown. She also ran parent-effectiveness training groups in Center City.
She was determined to balance a career with motherhood, said her husband, Steven Krupnick, whom she married in January 1971. The couple had three children.
Not one to shrink from a challenge, Mrs. Krupnick started a second career in 1984 at Kamikaze Kids on Fourth Street in the heart of South Street’s counterculture scene.
“She loved being part of the creative community surrounding her storefront,” her husband said.
Kamikaze Kids became the “gold standard for hip children’s wear throughout the Philadelphia region,” he said. The company added stores in Manayunk, Suburban Square, Newtown Square, and Marlton before being sold in 2001.
After 17 years as a store owner, she decided to switch careers for a third time, her husband said. She joined him in running various businesses involving promotional products and rental properties.
“We were a really good team,” he said. “We never fought about anything.”
Mrs. Krupnick was born in Bala Cynwyd to Charlotte and Nathaniel Nissenbaum, husband-and-wife executives who ran Humphrys Textile Products in Philadelphia. She grew up in Bala Cynwyd and Gladwyne and traveled the world with her parents and brother, Ronald “Boots” Nissenbaum.
She graduated from Harriton High School and enrolled in American University, where she studied English literature and immersed herself in the hippie lifestyle of the 1960s. She went to the Woodstock Festival in 1969 and demonstrated against the Vietnam War.
In the spring of 1969, she met Krupnick, as both sat on a bench in the American University quadrangle.
“It was love at first sight, and we instantly became inseparable,” he said. She graduated from college early so the two could marry.
Mrs. Krupnick was known for her enthusiasm, her husband said. “Her positive energy and love of life were contagious to everyone who knew her,” he said. “If you met her, you loved her.”
Despite having a busy career and a large circle of friends, Mrs. Krupnick valued family above all else. She rarely missed a child’s school play, sporting event, or a chance for a late-night conversation.
Mrs. Krupnick enjoyed doing a puzzle or craft project with her grandchildren. She viewed the beach in Longport, N.J., as her “happy place” where she hosted her extended family during the summer.
In addition to her husband, Mrs. Krupnick is survived by children Katy Friedland, Betsy Ramage, and David H. Krupnick; eight grandchildren; and her brother.
Services were Sunday, July 1.
Memorial donations may be made to the Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech via www.clarkeschools.org/krupnickfund.