Leah (Lee) Kaplan passed away peacefully on December 22, 2021 at her home in West Hartford. She is the daughter of her beloved parents, Anna and David Maskowsky of Ashley Falls, Massachusetts, and sister of Muriel Ketay, formerly of Concord, North Carolina. Her father owned the Collins Diner in Canaan and Farm Crest Dairy of Torrington, and she adored joining him on his milk delivery routes and waiting on customers in the historic rail car diner. Her mother Anna was a teacher at age 17 and later owned Anna’s Dress Shop in Winsted, Connecticut and Leah fondly recalled their trips into New York City to select merchandise for the boutique. She loved spending time at their cabin on Highland Lake. Leah was born in New Haven in 1932 and grew up in Torrington. A graduate of Torrington High School, Leah enjoyed orchestra, basketball and softball and was a majorette and played the accordion. It seems there was nothing she couldn’t do, from home design projects to her talents in painting and famous holiday brisket. She holds degrees in education from Central Connecticut University, and the University of Hartford, earning a Master’s degree at a time when that was uncommon for women. Leah was an elementary school teacher in Torrington for most of her distinguished career. She was a caring and dedicated teacher who reached the most difficult students and had a stellar reputation among her peers. She was recognized as Torrington’s Educator of the Year and was an active member of Alpha Delta Kappa and the Connecticut Education Association. Leah took immense joy and pride in teaching, always going above and beyond to organize special events like a cotillion dance and metric fair, coaching basketball, and more. She loved hearing from former students as they became adults and left an immeasurable legacy as an educator. Leah was a talented painter who loved art, music, and was a volunteer at cultural venues including the Warner Theater and the Farmington Valley Arts Center. She was the past president of the Farmington Woods Women’s Club, a group of women who brought her much joy. She loved reading (including reading the Hartford Courant every day) and trying to solve mysteries. She was warm, funny, and kind, always putting others she cared about, and strangers, first and modeling this example for her children and grandchildren, who have followed in her footsteps in service to others. She was quick to perform a skit, don a costume, or exhibit her boundless joyful spirit in countless ways. After retiring from teaching, she lived and made many friends at Lakeridge in Winsted, Farmington Woods in Avon and the McAuley in West Hartford. Leah was predeceased by her husband Jerome (Jerry) Kaplan. She was the proud mother of Shelley Nickles (John) of Arlington, Virginia; Robyn Kaplan-Cho (Doug) of West Hartford, Connecticut; and Alanna Kaplan Muñoz (Pablo) of Maplewood, New Jersey. She will be dearly missed by her beloved grandchildren Hannah, Cammie and Grace Cho, Kealani Nickles, and Ceci and Sadie Muñoz. She also leaves her nieces, Ilene Kent, Joanne Applebaum, and Susan Kent. Leah will be missed too by countless friends and former students. We wish to extend our heartfelt gratitude to her angel nurse, James, at McAuley, the Farmington Valley VNA, and St. Francis Hospital for their compassionate care. Donations in her memory can be made to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. A memorial service will be held at Congregation Beth Israel (701 Farmington Ave, West Hartford) on Monday December 27 at 1pm. For the safety of those who wish to honor Leah, guests must be vaccinated and masks are required. There is ample room for social distancing in the large and beautiful sanctuary.
Wednesday, December 22, 2021
Monday, December 27, 2021
Sanctuary Congregation Beth Israel
Farmington Valley Jewish Congregation Cemetery
701 Farmington Avnue West Hartford, CT 06119
Donations in her memory can be made to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.