Life lost one of its biggest fans this Shabbat. Dr. Harold Eli Caplan, 90, joined his wife of 64 years on what would have been her 89th birthday. Nobody zested for life like grandpa Harold. He loved to eat and he loved to be surrounded by family, and this is how he spent one of his last days with us: at Thanksgiving, where he ate a full plate, two desserts, and requested a real coke.
Harold was born on May 31, 1929 in Houston, Texas to Louis Caplan and Lena Dow Caplan. The youngest of three siblings, he worked in his parents’ store and enjoyed playing tennis and participating in Cyrus Adler AZA. He attended Rice University for two years and University of Texas for one, then attended UTMB for Medical School, where he finished with honors. After serving two years in the US Army in Panama as a captain, he finished his residency in ophthalmology in New Orleans and a cornea fellowship in New York, ultimately setting up his own shop in Pasadena, Texas, where he practiced for over 30 years.
He met the love of his life, Shirley Soffar Caplan, while he was in medical school. They were engaged six weeks later, married on August 3, 1952, and together they traveled the world. The fairy-tale couple had four boys, Richard, Jim, Mike, and Billy (all doctors!). His family cherishes memories of him painting, skiing, singing, and eating fried chicken, all with gusto. These and a lifetime more are cherished by Richard and his wife Leslie, Jim an
d his fiancé Isolda, Michael and his wife Hildy, Billy and his wife Carolyn, grandkids Lindsey and her husband Jared Rockoff, Jennifer and her husband Justen Barks, Henry and his fiancée Christina Wood, Daniel and his wife Ashley, Kailey and her husband Henry Ubelaker, Leah and her husband Elon Weintraub, Sara, Koby, and Joseph, and great grandchildren Jackson, Preston, and Roland. He will also be missed by his fantastic “birthday group” of lifelong friends and his army of caretakers who became like family.
Harold’s life will be celebrated on Monday, December 2, at 11 am at Congregation Beth Yeshurun, and he will be laid to rest next to his lady, his “zissele,” at the Beth Yeshurun Post Oak Cemetery. Donations in his honor can be made to the charity of your choice. Some of Harold’s favorites were the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Jewish Federation. We sure will miss this guy; he was a great husband, father, father-in-law, grandfather, great-grandfather, and a jolly good fellow.