Jonas Kaplan, was theater, dance supplier

September 25, 1994|By Karen Zeiler | Karen Zeiler,Contributing Writer

Jonas Kaplan, who owned a theater and dance supply store on Park Avenue in Baltimore for 42 years, died yesterday of Hodgkin's disease at Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Newton, Mass. He was 86.

Slowed by age, Mr. Kaplan sold the store, Jode (pronounced jo-day) at 317 Park Ave., five years ago. Now, it is the Rutledge Costume Co.

"My husband loved his store dearly," said his wife, the former Bernice Schechner of Chestnut Hill, Mass. "It hurt him terribly to give it up."

Jode supplied theaters and dance schools in Baltimore with costumes, tights, tap and toe shoes, and makeup. It also was a popular source for Halloween costumes.

"Our busiest times of the year were Halloween and recital times," Mrs. Kaplan said.

Anita Rutledge, the current owner of the store, said: "He was a big inspiration to me and to the students who knew him."

She said many local dance students spent a lot of time in the store "just to sit and talk to him."

After selling the store, the Kaplans moved to Chestnut Hill to be near their only son, Dr. William D. Kaplan, who died in March.

Mr. Kaplan loved the performing arts and was the host of a radio program, "Joe King in Moments of Melody" in the early 1930s in Newark, N.J.

He took the stage name "Joe King" when he was a drummer and a singer with a jazz band that toured Canada in the mid-1920s.

Born in Russia, Mr. Kaplan came to the United States with his parents while he was a baby. He grew up in Dorchester, Mass. A graduate of Dorchester High School, Mr. Kaplan attended Northeastern College in Boston and studied law.

After taking courses in merchandising at Columbia University, he became a buyer for Kresge department store in Newark, N.J.

Earlier, he had worked as a stock boy at Filenes department store in Boston.

Mrs. Kaplan met her future husband in Newark, where they were married. The couple moved to Baltimore in 1938 and settled in Pikesville, but moved to a high-rise apartment in Baltimore in 1966.

Besides his wife, survivors include two grandchildren, William D. Kaplan Jr. of San Francisco and Ann Stuart Kaplan of Monterey, Calif.; and many nieces and nephews.

Services will be private.

Memorial donations may be made to Friends of Dana-Farber, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 44 Binney St., Boston 02115.

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