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Outgoing Greensburg mother had passion for teaching

Brian Bowling
| Friday, Sept. 8, 2017, 11:00 p.m.

Phylis Caplan loved teaching young children, her family said.

“She took other jobs off and on over the years, but she always went back to teaching,” said her husband, Walter Caplan of Greensburg. “She loved the kids.”

She most recently worked as a preschool teacher at Latrobe Kinder-Schull and formerly worked at Mom's House, a Johnstown-based private daycare for the children of single parents that had a facility in Greensburg.

“She just really enjoyed little kids,” said her daughter, Sharon Price of State College. “That was her passion. That's what she always enjoyed doing.”

Phylis Estelle Gold Caplan of Greensburg died Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017, in Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital. She was 76.

She was born Aug. 20, 1941, in Pittsburgh, a daughter of the late Albert Gold and Leah Whitman Gold. Mrs. Caplan graduated from Harcum Junior College in Bryn Mawr in 1962.

A close friend who was married to her first cousin fixed her up with the man who would become her husband of 54 years.

“We went out on a blind date and then, a month later, dated again,” her husband said. “We married 53 weeks after we met.”

They wanted to marry on the one-year anniversary of their first date, but the place they wanted for the wedding was booked, he said.

A member of the Congregation of Emanu-El Israel of Greensburg, Mrs. Caplan was the longtime head of the Remembrance Committee, active in several other temple committees and with the Sisterhood.

“She liked everybody, and she was always trying to help whoever needed help,” her husband said.

An outgoing person who loved any type of social event, Mrs. Caplan made many friends, her daughter said.

If she saw someone at temple that she didn't know, “she would always introduce herself to them,” she said. “She was very friendly like that. Wherever she was, she always talked with everyone.”

She enjoyed theater and was an active member of the Westmoreland Museum of American Art.

A fan of Pittsburgh and Penn State sports, she knew the players and their positions, her husband said.

“This always amazed me,” he said. “She knew everything about sports.”

Mrs. Caplan was a member of the Greensburg Racquet Club and Aerobic Center. She learned to play tennis so they would have something to do together, he said.

“First we tried bridge, and that was a disaster for both of us,” he said.

An avid walker until she got sick, Mrs. Caplan was frequently seen at Lynch Field, her daughter said.

Mrs. Caplan collected penguins and had a cabinet filled with ceramic, metal and wood penguins.

“She just had a thing about penguins,” he said. “In fact, we're burying one with her.”

She loved to play mahjong and played with groups in Pittsburgh and Greensburg.

“Anything that was social, she really enjoyed,” her daughter said.

In addition to her husband and daughter, Mrs. Caplan is survived by three grandsons.

Services will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday at Congregation Emanu-El Israel, 222 N. Main St., Greensburg. Visitation will be held there one hour prior to the service. Interment will be in B'Nai Israel Cemetery, Greensburg.

Memorials may be made to Congregation Emanu-El Israel or to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, donate.lls.org.

Brian Bowling is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-1218, bbowling@tribweb.com.

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