Ocean County Philanthropist Linda Grunin Passes Away

Linda Grunin (Photo courtesy Grunin Foundation)

TOMS RIVER – The Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation has announced that one of its co-founders and co-chairs, Linda Kalmanowitz Grunin, passed away suddenly at the age of 75.

The Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation has been the impetus for a number of philanthropic causes, including, but not limited to: an $8 million pledge for a performing arts high school that will be built on the campus of Ocean County College, the Center for the Arts at OCC, an arts and education building for Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, and the Protectors of Freedom and Welcome to Ocean County statues in Toms River.

Her son, Jeremy Grunin, is the president of the foundation. He said at an event celebrating the future performing arts academy that naming a building isn’t an act of vanity but an act of leadership. It inspires other people with means to invest in the community. As such, they were going to forego taking the naming rights of the building in order to encourage another entity to take up that charge.

“Linda was a remarkable woman, a respected lawyer, and a savvy businesswoman,” her obituary stated.

She was born in Brooklyn but was raised at the Jersey Shore. Born in 1943, she was “always ahead of her time.”

She graduated cum laude from Smith College in Massachusetts and her doctorate from New York University’s School of Law, where she was one of 10 women graduating in a class of 300. It was also there that she met her future husband, Jay, and they settled in a little shore town called Toms River to practice law. They eventually expanded their business to investing in real estate, like the spot on Route 37 where the super Walmart was proposed.

“Linda’s work ethic, moral approach to the law and ability to relate to her client’s needs made her one of the most respected attorneys in the county,” the Grunin foundation stated. Eventually, the couple retired from the day-to-day practice of law to focus on investing and philanthropy, their “two greatest passions.” Although they had been donating in the background, they made it official by forming the Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation in 2013.

It has since invested more than $14 million in the community, with an additional $17.5 million committed. This, the foundation stated, was a testament to her hard work and compassion.

Linda is predeceased by her parents, Sam and Irene Kalmanowitz. She is survived by her beloved husband of 48 years, Jay; son, Jeremy and his wife Laura; grandchildren, Joshua, Rebecca and Emma; brother Stuart and his wife Pam; and nieces Karenina and Kamianna.

Funeral services will take place on Sunday, April 15 at 1 p.m. at Congregation B’nai Israel and immediately following at Congregation B’nai Israel Memorial Cemetery.

The family will observe Shiva at their residence at 9 Cranmoor Drive, Toms River. Shiva will be held Sunday, April 15 immediately following the services until 8 p.m. and Monday, April 16 and Tuesday, April 17 from noon until 6 p.m.