When my brother, George Howard Kaplan, arrived to put the evening’s receipts in the restaurant’s safe, one thief hit him over the head with his gun and handcuffed him as he lay on the floor. Then, he held the gun, a .357 Magnum revolver with a six-inch barrel, against the back of my brother George’s head and pulled the trigger. My brother died instantly; death execution style. The robbers ran down the street yelling, “We shot the fat manager!” The police missed them by 30 seconds.
What kind of man would George have been? Well, there is the man he was. George was strong and competent. He enjoyed doing things for other people and taking charge when they most needed help. When his best friend and her family grieved after the sudden death of her father, George swung right into action, making the funeral arrangements and ensuring that it all went smoothly. Whatever George did was done right. When his mother needed support, he moved in and ran the household, taking care that she ate well, the house was clean and the laundry done. Running a kitchen that fed hundreds of homeless people, he cooked more turkeys than I can imagine. He was the family historian and the man who kept everyone in touch. He was the uncle who smoothed his nephew’s adolescence with the kind of sound advice no father can give a teenage boy. And, he would have been my loving brother through the years.