Meyer “Mike” G. Kaplan, Class of 1945

June 09, 2000
Santa Paula High School
By B. J. Harding, President, SPUHS Alumni Association One of two sons of Ely and Regina Kaplan, Mike was born in Los Angeles, but lived in Santa Paula his entire life. His brother Jerry “Jake” was in the class of 1950.Mike started his education at McKevett kindergarten and continued through high school graduation with the same group of kids.At SPUHS, in addition to occasionally studying (he did make the CSF one semester), he was active in football, track, manager of the baseball team, in the Spanish Club, in the band for two years, in Hi-Y, and was in the California Cadet Corps and on their rifle team. Back in those days he even had hair. Special teachers he recalls from SPUHS were Rhe Nelson, Ellen Bailard and Grace Kerslake.After graduation in 1945, Mike joined the U.S. Army and was sent to the University of Utah. He was then stationed in San Pedro, CA, Louisiana and Texas, and was honorably discharged from the Hospital Train Unit at Letterman General Hospital in San Francisco.Mike attended University of California at Berkeley and then UCLA, where he earned his B.S. in Accounting. After graduation he returned to Santa Paula, where he assisted his father in running Kaplan’s Bootery. On the death of his father in 1958, Mike became the owner, and worked until his retirement in 1990 after 40 years as a shoe retailer.
During this period of time, Mike was active in the 20-30 Club, a member of the Chamber of Commerce, and served as president of the Santa Paula Kiwanis Club in 1958. He held various leadership positions with the Boy Scouts of America, has been a member of the Ventura County Jewish Council (Temple Beth Torah) from its inception, and on the board of the Ventura County Cancer Society. More recently he is on the board of the Blanchard Library Endowment Fund and is serving as treasurer.Mike married Mary Simeone of Arlington, Massachusetts, and they had two sons, Dean, Class of 1977, and Paul. Mike also lost Craig, a son by a previous marriage. After 26 years Mike’s and Mary’s marriage broke up, and since then Mike’s life has been traveling.Mike says he inherited the wanderlust from his mother. He has been in all 50 states, and 80 countries on all seven continents. Sixty of these trips were with Elderhostel, which is an educational adventure for adults over 55 years. They offer inexpensive one to four week educational programs all over the world. A four to five night program usually teaches three non-credit courses and has extracurricular activities, such as tours of the local area. Plain meals and simple accommodations are included. Mike just recently returned from a trip to Cancun, Mexico, and from there to Havana, Cuba. He says the best part of these trips is the wonderful people you get to meet.This year is the 55th anniversary of his SPUHS graduating class, and the 68th anniversary of his kindergarten class. Mike is looking forward to renewing the acquaintance of his old classmate and buddy Stan Lothridge, and they will both miss their old pals Myron Pearce and Bob Ryan at this reunion on September 30 at the Radisson Hotel.

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