Harry Caplan

Harry Caplan lived in this world from September 26th, 1906 to June 14th, 2000. He was a great guy, a decent and honest man. His parents came to Portland from Brest-Litovsk, Russia, in 1905, with his older sister Anna who was born in Russia and also lived into her nineties in Portland. Harry went to Commerce High School (now known as Cleveland High School) and played guard on the 1923 All-City football team -- this was when helmets were leather and there were no face masks -- hence his broken nose.

picture of a teen-age Harry Caplan, All-City Guard playing for Commerce High School in 1923

Harry Caplan as a teen-age football player

He started his sporting goods business in the thirties and ran it until 1985. Caplan Sport Shop, 521 SW 4th Ave., was a thriving business for all those decades. He married Anna Petersky in 1930 and they had two children, Gary and Florence. Gary died in a tragic accident while still a teenager; Flo married Mr. Berman and they had five kids, including Dr. Mark Berman who has the distinction (if you can call it that) of being born on exactly the same day as I.

I worked for Harry Caplan for five years, during which time I came to greatly admire him. He was absolutely good for his word; he stood on his feet all day and didn't even take a lunch break, even in his seventies; he backed me up and stood up for me when there was a problem. He never called in sick! In his own words: "I never goofed off a day in my life."

picture of Harry Caplan in his seventies, taken inside Caplan Sport Shop around 1981, foto by Jan Chciuk-Celt

This is what he looked like around 1981, right in his shop.

P.S. At Harry's funeral, the rabbi said his name was Herschel ben Simcha ben Cohen Fegel.

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updated November 17th, 2013 by Jan Chciuk-Celt