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Memorial for Zane S. Kaplan

Memorial Image
Memorial: 2:00 PM Sunday, November 12th, 2017
Peninsula Temple Sholom
1655 Sebastian Drive
Burlingame, CA 94010
directions

Zane S. Kaplan

1926 – 2017

Zane Kaplan, longtime owner and operator of Kaplan’s Surplus & Sporting Goods — a San Francisco institution for 75 years — died of natural causes on Nov. 9. He was 91, and had been living in retire­ment since the closing of his business in 2014. Until that time — he was then 88 — he worked six days a week at the store, year in and year out, in good health and otherwise. “I woke up feeling so sick one morning I couldn’t get out of bed” he once recalled. “So I took an aspirin, and an hour later I drove downtown and opened the store.”

The son of Jewish im­migrants, Ben and Mollie Kaplan, Zane was born in Cleveland, Ohio, a quintessential child of the Depression — a tenement homelife, a father without work. It was this same father, traveling alone, who struck out west and founded Kaplan’s; the year was 1939. That same year, mother and son, and Zane’s two sisters, Claire and Estelle, joined the father in San Francisco, settling in the Richmond district.

Zane was crazy for baseball in his youth and garnered some interest from professional scouts, but at 17 he threw out his arm while pitching for local Washington High, and that effectively ended his dream of pitching in the major leagues one day. Following high school he served in the Army, mourned the death of his sister Claire, and pursued a degree (never re­alized) in physical education. Around this time he also pursued a Lowell student, Rhoda Chrisman — if not literally the girl next door, the girl directly across the street. They married in their 20s, raised three children, and were loving mates for seven decades.

The start of his marriage also marked the start of Zane’s career at Kaplan’s, whose period of greatest efflorescence was the late 60s and early 70s, when the Market Street store was the Love Generation’s place to go for must-have items — Buck knives, Frye boots, Seafarer dungarees, Cole­man stoves and lanterns, Schott Bros. leather jackets and peacoats, down bags and pup tents, foam rubber cut to order, all things Ben Davis and all things Levi. About his line of Levi jeans, which Zane priced low, he liked to say, in his reflective way, “No matter how bad business gets, I know I’m always going to sell at least one pair of Levi’s.”

Zane is survived by his wife, Rhoda; a daughter, Cathy Abrams, and sons Howard and Lance; five grandchildren — Lonny, Paige, Mickey, Maddie, and Will; a nephew, Steve Berman, and a niece, Sharon Munowitch; a former son-in-law, Ira Abrams, and the wives of his sons, Karen Kaplan and Jessica van Campen. With only one or two exceptions, all these kin at one time or another were marshaled into service at Kaplan’s.

Burial will be at noon on Sunday, Nov. 12, at Eternal Home, 1051 El Camino Real, Colma. A memorial service will follow at 2pm at Penin­sula Temple Sholom, 1655 Sebastian Dr., Burlingame. Donations in Zane’s memory may be made to Mission Hospice, 1670 S. Amphlett Blvd., Suite 300, San Mateo, CA 94402 and SF Lodge No. 21, B’nai B’rith, 1185 Vicente St., San Francisco, CA 94116.