Leonard Jerome Kaplan

by | May 1, 2015 | Obituaries

Greensboro, N.C.—Leonard Jerome Kaplan, age 86, died peacefully on April 12, 2015.

He is lovingly survived by his wife of 50 years, Tobee Kaplan, his children Lyn Chasen and husband Barry Chasen, Randall Kaplan and wife Kathy Manning, Scott Kaplan and wife Maeve Kaplan, grandchildren Brandon Chasen and wife Catherine, Blake and Ben Chasen, Elizabeth, Robert and Jennifer Kaplan, Sara Kaplan Stricker and husband Elon Stricker, Sophia, Aubrey and Henry Kaplan, and great-grandson Brandon Chasen, Jr.

He was predeceased by his beloved daughter Lori Kaplan.

Mr. Kaplan grew up in High Point, N.C., the son of the late Sara and Harry Kaplan and the brother of the late Dr. Arthur Kaplan. Forced to leave UNC to take over his father’s janitorial supply company when his father became ill, he graduated from High Point University while running his family business. He served in the U.S Army during the Korean War, then returned to the business and used his determination, creativity, and hard work to build Kay Chemical Company into a worldwide supplier of cleaning chemicals to the giants of the fast food industry.

Mr. Kaplan’s life was guided by his desire to make the world a better place, and he had a lasting impact through his significant philanthropic efforts. With the creation of the TOLEO Foundation, he and his wife Tobee pursued a deep commitment to philanthropy in education, women and children’s issues, homelessness, hunger, healthcare and human services, the arts, civil rights, and quality of life for the greater community in general and the Jewish community in particular. Mr. Kaplan was a driving force in projects ranging from the creation of the Moses Cone Cardiac Unit, the founding of Camp Ramah Darom, and the School of Public Administration for Leadership at High Point University. He helped found pivotal agencies such as Jewish Family Services and the Jewish Foundation of Greensboro, and helped build new facilities for the Greensboro Jewish Federation, The Women’s Resource Center, Habitat for Humanity, B’nai Shalom Day School, Greensboro Day School, Beth David Synagogue, Temple Emanuel, and UNC Hillel. He was a major supporter of United Way and Urban Ministries, and he funded food programs in needy areas in Eastern Europe and Israel. A visionary thinker, Mr. Kaplan created two international organizations to address global needs. Among his many awards, Mr. Kaplan received an honorary doctorate from the Jewish Theological Seminary, Greensboro Chamber of Commerce’s Thomas Z. Osborne Citizen of the Year Award, Greensboro Jewish Federation’s Benjamin Cone, Sr. Leadership Award, and the 2014 NCCJ Citation Award.

A funeral took place at Beth David Synagogue.