Archived Story

R. W. ‘Buzz’ Kaplan, 78, Owatonna

Published 12:00am Saturday, June 29, 2002

R. W. “Buzz” Kaplan, age 78, died Wednesday, June 26, 2002, on a bright clear morning while pursuing his passion of flying.

Buzz married Dorothy Frahman In 1946. She preceded him in death in 1994.

They are survived by one son, Kent Kaplan; two daughters: Karen Kaplan and Kim (Tom) Wavrin; and nine grandchildren: Lindsay, Kirstin and Jenna Kaplan, Matt, Marc, Mitch and Maren Olson, and Joseph and Bonnie Wavrin.

Buzz remarried in 1995 to Betty Allison. Betty has three children: Mark (DJ), Kirk (Lisa), Kyle (Deb) ; and five grandchildren: Zach, Joey, R.J., Berit, and Reaghan.

Buzz Is also survived by his brother, Kennard Kaplan; two sisters: Velaire Ehni and Lonabelle Spencer. One sister, Blanche Mullenmaster, preceded him in death.

Buzz was the retired Chairman and CEO of Owatonna Tool Company. During the nearly 50 years that he managed the Owatonna Tool Company and Its subsidiary companies, he witnessed and supervised growth from thirty people to over 3,000 employees.

Buzz graduated from Owatonna High School in 1943 and immediately entered the U.S. Army. He served in Patton’s Third Army throughout Europe and upon his return to Owatonna in 1946, he entered the University of Minnesota.

Buzz earned his pilots license in 1946 and has since accumulated over 10,000 hours as a pilot. He has flown his own airplane throughout the world, having visited six out of seven continents and more than 76 countries. His flying accomplishments were recognized with his Induction Into the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame. Buzz was president and founder of Heritage Halls Museum In Owatonna.

In addition to flying, Buzz enjoyed hunting and fishing and had pursued wild game and fish throughout the world.

A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, July 3, at 7 p.m. at Heritage Halls Museum, next to Cabela’s in Owatonna. Private internment.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the Owatonna Foundation, PO Box 467, Owatonna MN 55060 and Bob Allison Ataxia Research Center, c/o Minnesota Medical Foundation, 200 Oak Street SE, Minneapolis MN 55455.

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