Richard Kaplan, Tabletop Executive, Dies

Richard Kaplan

Richard Kaplan

KENNEBUNK, Me.–Richard Kaplan, who enjoyed a long career in the silver and crystal businesses, passed away Dec. 29, 2010, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He was 81.

Kaplan’s career in the tabletop industry began when he opened a Midwest office for Poole Silver in Chicago in the early 1950s. When Poole Silver was acquired by Towle Silversmiths, Kaplan remained as head of marketing and sales. In the late 1970s he was hired by Christofle to manage U.S. operations; he later moved to Baccarat to head marketing and sales in the United States and remained with the company until the early 1990s, when he became president of Orrefors Kosta Boda. He retired from Orrefors Kosta Boda in 1994 but remained on the company’s board of directors.

After his retirement (marked by a grand party hosted by Gourmet magazine), Kaplan and his wife Daisy divided their time between homes in Maine and Arizona.

Kaplan was known in the industry for his integrity and his genuine consideration for others. “Oh, he was bright, he was funny, he was intelligent. But he was caring,” Daisy Kaplan told HFN, emphasizing the last attribute.

Kaplan’s strong ties to the industry included those in the retail community.

“Dick was a real gentleman, a real mensch,” said Michael Gould, chairman and chief executive officer of Bloomingdale’s. “He was a terrific business partner, a terrific friend,” Gould said. “He was a very special person, with a real feel for people. We’re all richer for having known Dick.”

Kaplan is survived by his wife, Daisy, two children, Douglas Kaplan and Leslie Kaplan, and four grandchildren, Sam, Lisa, Ben and Zach.