Saturday January 5, 2013
KAPLAN, Sylvia Mary,
1923 - 2012 Sylvia was born and grew up in a thatched cottage in the English village of Potterspury, the third daughter of schoolteachers Marion and Percy Leadbeater, a joyful girl gifted academically and in music and sports. During the war, six feet tall and movie star beautiful, she left school to work at Bletchley Park, helping decode German submarine messages. In 1944, at a Chopin concert in Oxford, she met Gordin Kaplan, an American soldier and fellow music-lover; they married in 1949 and had two children. Sylvia was a skilful homemaker and gardener who created an elegant, warm haven for family and friends. She travelled extensively with Gordin, painted and sculpted, played piano, recorder and cello, and volunteered with the Voice of Women and the Centretown Community Health Centre, earning a B.A. in Sociology from Carleton at the age of fifty. Sylvia was lovely, magnetic and full of joie de vivre until the end, passionate about art, music, tennis (Yay Federer!) and politics (Boo the Harper government!) On Dec. 23, at the Ottawa Civic, she sang the melody of a Beethoven sonata over the phone to a friend. Sylvia died in her sleep on Christmas morning, aged 89. She was predeceased by her beloved husband of 39 years and her sister Margaret Harrison, and is survived by her sister and lifelong companion Dorothy Arevian, aged 92, children Beth and Michael (Emilie), grandchildren Anna and Sam Dobie and Jacob Kaplan, and great-grandson Eli, born in May, whom she was thrilled to meet. A celebration of her life will take place at the First Unitarian Congregation, 30 Cleary Avenue in Ottawa, at 6.30 p.m. on Friday January 18. All Sylvia's friends and admirers are invited to attend. Instead of flowers, please consider a donation to the Ottawa Heart Institute. ''What is joy if Sylvia be not by?'