Michaelson Funeral Home: Obituaries

Kennard Clark Kaplan


Tuesday, May 31, 1932


Monday, February 11, 2013


Thursday, February 14, 2013 from 4:00PM to 7:00PM at Michaelson Funeral Home and one hour prior to the service in the church


Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 3:00PM at Associated Church
Michaelson Funeral Home: Obituaries Photo:
Michaelson Funeral Home: Obituaries
Kennard Clark Kaplan, 80, of Owatonna, Minnesota passed away after suffering the ravages of ALS – more commonly known as Lou Gehrig''s disease. Survived by his four daughters, Lisa (Richard) Huntley, Tamera Kaplan, Krista (Bill Burleigh) Kaplan, and Jean Thornton. Also survived by 7 grandchildren; Jean, Robert and Alida Ortiz, Monica Vizcarra, Jesse Panger, Christopher and Alex Burleigh. His wife Jean E. Kaplan, his parents Rueben A. and Florence E. Kaplan, his brother ‘Buzz'' Kaplan and his 3 sisters, Velaire Ehni, Lonabelle Spencer and Blanche Mullenmaster, predeceased Ken.

Ken graduated from OHS in 1950 and went on to Grinnell College in Iowa where he studied for 2 years before being drafted into the Army during the Korean War. He was a Corporal in the 99th Field Artillery, 1st Cavalry Division in Sapporo, Japan in ''52 and ‘53. While with the army Ken lead the sharpshooter team in the Far East for small caliber weapons. Upon his return to Minnesota, he completed his business degree at Hamlin University in St. Paul. He graduated in 1955 and married Jean Elizabeth Roberts in December of that same year.

Ken worked at Tube-Co in Owatonna for several years before returning to the University of Minnesota to complete his Master''s Degree in Business graduating in 1960. Ken then began his professional career working for the company his father founded, Owatonna Tool Company. During the war years, when he was 9-years old he worked for 9-cents/hour cutting “thousands” of handles for screwdrivers. After the war, everyone got a raise. His pay went to 11-cents/hour. Ken enjoyed numerous accomplishments during his OTC tenure and helped to build the company that his father and uncles had begun. He leaves behind a thriving International company and legacy that continues to this day.

Aside from his long career with OTC, Ken was continually involved in a variety of civic, fraternal and business organizations. He was a life-long member of Rotary, the Zurah Temple Shriners, the Star of the East Masons, Ducks Unlimited and the Owatonna Country Club where, as one of 5 Keystone Members he was instrumental in its rebuilding and rebirth. At various times over the decades, Ken acted as President of Owatonna Industries, was on the Board of Directors for the Owatonna Foundation, the First National Bank, the Owatonna Tool Company, J-C Press, and the Owatonna Hospital. Feeling that it was important for the citizens of Owatonna to have an 18-hole public golf course, Ken bought and developed the land and created Brooktree Golf Course and the neighboring community. Ken loved Owatonna and believed strongly in his responsibility toward investing in its infrastructure for future generations.

Ken''s philanthropic generosity was extended over the years to the United Way, Ducks Unlimited, the Associated Church, the Owatonna Homestead Hospice House, the Owatonna Foundation, the Steele County Historic Society, the Owatonna Chamber Foundation, the Laramie Ice Arena and the Owatonna Figure Skating Club.

Ken''s sense of adventure and passion revolved around being in the great outdoors as much as possible no matter the weather or time of year. Trapshooting, hunting a variety of animals on 4 different continents, flying all sorts of planes, fishing in ponds, lakes, rivers and oceans he never tired of the thrill and the challenge. One of Ken''s most favorite passions was to walk a field hunting pheasants with his black Labrador Frisky – or King – or Prince. Winter was considered to be as good a season as any and Ken made sure that his 4 girls had the opportunity to share his exuberant love of the outdoors. With his wife Jean, Ken taught his girls how to Alpine ski, Nordic ski, snowmobile, ice skate, and toboggan at the OCC. Summers brought glorious days at Lake Francis where friends and relatives were always met with an open door. Days were filled with swimming, fishing, water-skiing, flying, canoeing, hunting for frogs, hunting for mushrooms and sailing. Ken valued learning and education, attending classes every year at Florida University.

In the end, Ken''s greatest legacy may be what he taught his girls: to love the small things; the vast green cornfields, the red barns, the black-capped chickadee and the creamy brown mushrooms. Through his eyes they learned to love the big things; the tall oaks, the imperious mountains of the West, the rolling view of the land spread out beneath the airplane''s wings, the big blue sky. He showed them that the small things ARE the big things and that the whole wide world is within our reach.

Visitation will be held at Michaelson Funeral Home on Thursday, February 14, 2013 from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM and also one hour prior to the service in the church. Funeral services will be held at Associated Church on Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 3:00 PM with Dr. Ronald D. Wilson officiating. Interment will be in Bohemian National Cemetery in Owatonna. In lieu of flowers memorials are preferred to the Owatonna Foundation or the United Way.