Jill Levinson Lapple
September 8, 1950 to January 17, 2023

Jill Levinson Lapple passed away on January 17, 2023 at 1:50 in the morning. She was born 72 years earlier in Johannesburg, South Africa; on September the 8th, 1950. Jill was a fraternal twin; her sister’s name was Daphne. After her schooling she became a film editor and eventually became the censorship editor for the country. Her job was to make the cuts that a panel of censors required in a film or to go to court and argue why a cut didn’t need to be made. She was very successful at reducing the number of cuts. In fact a newspaper article was written about just that, under the headline, “No Butcher She.” An interesting by product of her job was that she was one of the only people, in South Africa, who got to see uncut movies. Jill hated the Apartheid system that she had grown up in and due to her seeing uncut films she knew where she wanted to live; that bastion of free and equal government, that shiny city on the hill, the United States of America.

She moved to the US when she was 30 years old, on a visitor’s visa. She was dismayed to discover that the America she had seen on film did not live up to that promise, in real life. While she was staying at Dobie Gray’s road manager’s house she met a young television commercial director named Edward Lapple. Two years later they were married. Ed recounts, “When we went out, a second time, I told her that she was, “Foxy,” and when I called her for a third date, she was a little stand offish. She said, “Well the last time that we went out you said that I smelled gamy.” They were able to work their semantics problems out and romance blossomed. She worked at Lajon Films, for a couple of years editing movie trailers and doing production management jobs. Then Ed and his brother decided to open their own production company and Jill went with them. Their family owned the Town of Bridgeville, in Humboldt County and Jill became intimately familiar with the paperwork required in tenant management. In 1982 South Africa paid her to go to the Cannes Film Festival to pick movies for the country. She also worked with Norman Seeff shooting album covers. Meanwhile during 5 years working at Video General she worked her way up from being the Graphics designer to General Manager.

When Jill got pregnant, with their son Joshua, she retired from the company to be a full time mother. A few years later the little family moved to Fillmore, California and Jill returned to the workplace becoming the feature writer for the Fillmore Gazette, she also joined the Baháʼí faith where she was attracted by its strong stand for universal justice and equality. Being the enthusiastic overachiever that she always was, she soon wound up as an instructor, teaching the faith. The family eventually moved to Humboldt County and from there Joshua deployed to Afghanistan. During his tour he was injured in an IED explosion. He suffered a broken back, neck and jaw; he was moved to Ft. Sam Houston medical center and spent two years recovering, Jill moved to San Antonio and spent two years living in the barracks with him. When he returned to Humboldt County the Baháʼí’s asked Jill if she would start a ministry in Crescent City. She said yes and moved up there, where she recruited members and got involved in community programs to help the local homeless population. Then the Covid-19 restrictions slammed a brake on most of this activity and Jill developed physical problems that ended when she passed on January 17th.

Her parents Micky and Leon Levinson passed before she did. She was visited by her three sisters a week before and her husband and son were with her at the end. Jill is survived by Edward and Joshua Lapple, plus her three sisters, Cynthia Modugno, Daphne Gaddie and Debbie Buckley as well as a multitude of nieces and nephews. Graveside services will be held at the Table Bluff Cemetery at 2 p.m. on Friday, January 28.


The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Jill Lapple’s loved onesThe Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here. Email news@lostcoastoutpost.com.