Leonard Kaplan

DATELINE: ALPHARETTA, GA

Kaplan, Leonard “Low Price Lenny,” beloved father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother and uncle, died on Sunday, August 1, 2021, in Alpharetta, Georgia, surrounded by his loving family. Lenny was 91 years old.

Lenny was born on May 2, 1930 in Providence, Rhode Island to his parents, Abraham and Fannie Kaplan. He graduated from Hope High School and served as a Supply Sergeant in the Army during the Korean War and was stationed in Okinawa Japan from 1950-1952. After completing his active duty, Lenny returned to Rhode Island and soon after opened his first Army/Navy store called the “Gob Shops” in 1954 in Fall River, MA. Lenny opened additional locations throughout the Southcoast region including Warren RI, Newport RI, Somerset MA and others. Lenny was well known in the region for his zany radio commercials on WSAR Radio, his songs and maybe most of all for his Kazoo playing. He soon became known as “Low Price Lenny” and that name became part of his legacy as a beloved entrepreneur and civic leader in the community. During his years as a retailer, Lenny was also a Partner in Mt. Hope Fiberglass Company, RLM Builders, and owned Promotional Advertising Associates which held the contract for transit advertising with SRTA for over 30 years. Len also announced boxing matches for Golden Gloves and promoted WWF in the region for over 40 years.

Lenny was a very active Civic Leader and his volunteerism and leadership roles were numerous for over 40 years. They included being the Chairmen of Boys Scouts for America for 9 years; Chairmen of the Board of the Fall River Police Athletic League for 15 years; Co-Founder and sat as President of the Somerset Raiders Club for 6 years, held position of Adjutant for many years at the local Veteran’s post, was a Board Member for the Diabetes Association, The United Way, Fall River Chamber of Commerce and Friends of Heritage State Park, was an active member of the Lions Club, the Pioneer Masonic Lodge and the Corky Row Club. He was the originator of the “We Can” Food Drive for over 40 years. Len’s awards for Civic duty were numerous and included being named Fall River “Man of the Year” in the year 2000.

Probably the non-profit closest to Len’s heart was his beloved Ms. Senior Sweetheart Pageant of America/ International, which he originated in 1978. The first pageant was held when Len was tasked to run a fundraiser for his Lions Club. He came up with the idea to hold a pageant for women over the age of 59 years old. After the first pageant, everyone involved realized that it was a very meaningful experience and asked Len to run another “show.” Under Len’s passionate direction and management, this organization grew over a span of 36 years and touched the lives of many people, especially seniors. In 2012, the organization was showcased in a documentary movie which was produced by Walter Matteson. The touching film, called “Pretty Old the Movie” truly exposes the heart of the real Lenny Kaplan and four of the women who were involved in the pageant. The movie is a tribute to the concept that “age is only a number” and when the film won 1st place at the Santa Barbara Film Festival, Sarah Jessica Parker became the Executive Producer for the promotion of the film.

Perhaps the greatest honor that Len has received for his civic volunteerism was having the Walking Bridge at Battleship Cove in Fall River, MA be named the “Leonard Low Price Lenny Kaplan” Bridge in 2018. Joe Primo and other members of the Boys Scouts Council petitioned the State of Massachusetts to bestow this great honor, which will serve as a beautiful tribute to Lenny for his family and friends for many years to come.

In his later years, after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, Lenny moved to Johns Creek, Georgia and lived with his “kids,” his son Alan and his wife Susan at their home. He lived his final two years at Tapestry House Assisted Living, Alpharetta, Georgia where his personality was contagious and he treated everyone as if they were a part of his family. He made many friends in Georgia and is loved by so many people. He always quoted his mom who said “Life is a dream” and Lenny truly lived every day to the fullest and followed his dreams. He was an inspiration to so many and his life is a tribute to living every day to the fullest, finding the good in everyone and everything and staying positive regardless of circumstances.

Lenny is survived by his son, Alan and his wife, Susan, and his three grandchildren, David, Stephen and Rachel (husband Matt), as well as his great-grandson, Kiaan. He is also survived by his daughter Susan Robyn and his beloved sister Miriam Snell as well as nephews, nieces, cousins and extended family. He is preceded in death by his wife of 61 years, Beverly, who died in January 2015.

A Memorial Service will be held at Shalom Memorial Chapel, 1100 New London Avenue, Cranston, RI on Friday, August 6, 2021 at 10:00 a.m., followed immediately with a burial service at Lincoln Park Cemetery, 1469 Post Road, Warwick, Rhode Island.

To view a recording of the funeral, please Click Here.

Alan and Susan will be holding a Shiva/Open House directly after the services for Lenny’s family and friends to gather and share a meal as well as memories and stories of our beloved Lenny. The Shiva will be held at Whites of Westport, 66 State Road, Westport, Massachusetts on Friday from 1-4 p.m.

To join the Shiva via Zoom, please Click Here.

Meeting ID: 856 8192 4525
Passcode: 761268

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Lenny’s honor to The Greater Fall River Community Food Pantry, 235 Nashua Street, Fall River, MA 02721.

13 Comments

  1. Kathleen Morris
    Aug 2, 2021

    To the Kaplan Family,
    I am so so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers go out to all his family and friends.
    I missed being with Lenny during the pageant season over the last 8 years. I loved spending time with him and the all the contestants he gave that special opportunity to shine on stage every year.
    Lenny was the most giving, loving, and compassionate person I’ve ever known. I will treasure all the memories and time spent with him.
    Lenny you will forever have a special place in my heart, that no one can ever take away. You are and always will be one very special person to so many people. You have left a heart print that remains forever. Rest in Peace my friend, Love you.

  2. Marilyn Herman
    Aug 3, 2021

    Len was my first cousin. Our mothers were sisters. Although we lived in different states I would love speaking on the phone with him on many occasions. He was such an inspiration. I always admired his positive nature and zest for life. He never let himself get down and never was one to complain no matter the circumstance. I will always remember all the special occasions and celebrations we shared in our younger years. And although the distance between us – and our advanced ages – made it difficult for us to see each other face to face – we always shared our lives via telephone. I will miss those phone calls but they will always be etched in my mind along with all our memories through the years. I am happy that he was able to spend his last few years surrounded by his loving son, Alan, and daughter-in-law, Susan. Their devotion and love for him was evident in the way they tended to him and all his needs until his last breath. He was so fortunate to have them.
    I love you Len. May you rest in peace always. Cousin Marilyn

  3. Phil Devitt
    Aug 3, 2021

    Covering the Ms. Senior Sweetheart Pageant for The Fall River Spirit every year, I got a front-row seat to Mr. Kaplan’s passion, optimism and heart. He once said: “I could have been a very wealthy man at a young age, but then I started the pageant and realized, what good is money if you’re not happy?” Mr. Kaplan, I raise a glass to your happy life. Thank you for sharing your warmth with the world. I’ll play “I’m Looking Over a Four-Leaf Clover” for you today.

  4. david cambra
    Aug 3, 2021

    To the Family, I like so many other people knew Len for many, many years. He used to come into the restaurant,(Almac’s Diner), quite often. He had me carry sugar free pies because of his diabetes. He was just a wonderful Friend and a wonderful person. Would help anyone if he could. RIP my Friend! Sympathies from Fall River!!!! Our loss!!!!!

  5. Lisa Lundy Kusinitz
    Aug 3, 2021

    I first met Lenny in 1982 when we both served on the special events committee for the United Way. He was such a great person to be with. I use to love calling him and hear him answer the phone, “50249!” He finally told why he did that. He always had a smile on his face when I ran into him downtown or at events.
    He gave me great comfort when my husband was dying and kept in touch with me after his passing. I still have one of his messages on my phone!
    I was so happy to be able to attend the dedication for him at Heritage State Park. It is a worthy tribute to a wonderful man. Rest in peace, Lenny. You will be missed.

  6. James Blackburn
    Aug 4, 2021

    So very sorry to read of Lenny’s death, my condolences to the Kapland family. First met Lenny around 1955 at the Gob Shop on Second St. I always remember him as being very kind to a young kid with very little money to spend. I used to buy arrows for my bow and fishing supplies from him. He would give me a discount and kind words, maybe say something funny or play a few seconds on his kazoo. He really helped launch my outdoor life and all the adventures that followed.
    Truly a Fall River icon, who put a smile on faces and left many fond memories especially with this little kid. RIP Len, this world is a little less without you but better because of you.

  7. Ronald Wall
    Aug 4, 2021

    Len was my First Cousin Mothers side.
    I will sorely miss speaking with him from my home in New Jersey.
    I have so many delightful memories of Len as sponsor of such uplifting endeavors as Kazoo Contest In Park, Miss Senior Sweethearts Pagent, “Low Price Len” radio ads, Wrestling
    Match MC and so many more.
    The world is a better place thanks to len’s always upbeat
    life’s accomplishments.
    He has definitely lefts a lasting legacy. Blessing to Len’s immediate Family , Alan,Susan, Sue Kaplan, Sister Miriam
    Cousin Sheryl, Cousin Jerry
    R.I.P

  8. Judith Preston
    Aug 4, 2021

    Len and Bev were customers at my pharmacy. Great people. Went to shiva for Bev. They were the best. Still have gifts They gave me.

  9. Rose Gergel
    Aug 5, 2021

    Sorry to hear about Lennie’s passing. Always a pleasure to talk to Lenny, great personality, and a great guy. He will be missed by many.

  10. James Kimsey
    Aug 6, 2021

    Lenny has been an inspiration to generations of Senior Queens. He has been a mentor, often with a great sense of humor. His memory will always be cherished for the love, humor, and honest belief in the good inside everybody.

    • Jane Edwards
      Aug 6, 2021

      In Honor of Lenny Kaplan, the Senior Queens have both sent an arrangement and mailed a donation to the Greater Fall River Community Food Pantry. May Lenny always be “Of Blessed Memory.”

    • Peggie Fowler
      Aug 6, 2021

      I felt so honored to have visited Lenny in his home a few years ago. I could see he had a gentle heart. Thank you, Lenny, for reaching out to give senior women the opportunity to realize their own value, potential, and beauty in this world. Rest in peace in the presence of God, Lenny. On behalf of the Ms. Senior USA Pageant Group, condolences go out to the family and friends.

  11. HUNT HU
    Aug 16, 2021

    My dear,

    It’s around 30 yrs ago when I met Lenny in High Point, NC, a close friend ship was made after that. The loved Lenny was invited to visit us in Shanghai then, during which he’s so happy to talk to each of our members. I was failed to keep communication for many years, and he is always missed.

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