MARVIN CAPLAN: Former city councillor who also made his mark as clothier and community volunteer has died
Hamilton businessman and former city councillor Marvin Caplan has died suddenly of a heart attack.
Family friend Wade Hemsworth said Caplan, who served on city council as the Ward 1 representative from 1994-2003, suffered a heart attack at his office Tuesday. He was 75.
Caplan was a business and real estate broker at Robbinex Consulting Intermediaries on Stuart Street. Before he served on council, he was a popular clothier and the operator of Gentlemen’s Apparel at Effort Square on King Street East in downtown Hamilton. He had another store in Burlington but it only operated 19901991.
Mayor Fred Eisenberger issued a statement saying he was “saddened” to learn of Caplan’s “sudden passing.”
“In addition to serving on Hamilton City Council, Marvin was an accomplished clothier, real estate professional and consummate volunteer with many community organizations,” Eisenberger said. “On behalf of the City of Hamilton, our heartfelt sympathy goes out to his wife Judi and the Caplan family.”
The mayor said the city flag will fly at half-staff until the funeral. The arrangements are still forthcoming.
Caplan is survived by his wife Judi, a well-known realtor, four sons and seven grandchildren. His wife said in a statement, “Taking care of people was so important to him. His goal in life was to help make sure people could make it.”
Hemsworth, a former Spectator reporter who now works in media relations at McMaster University, described Caplan as warm-hearted, generous and gregarious and a person “who loved to debate.”
“He had a good sense of humour, sense of service, sense of duty to his family, his community and his synagogue.”
Caplan came to Hamilton in 1978 from Toronto after working for Harry Rosen chain and opening four of its branches. He was the son of a grocer.
Spectator columnist Paul Wilson wrote in 1984 that Caplan “stormed into Hamilton” and implied if you did not know who he was, you were not paying attention.
“Marvin works hard to be famous,” said Wilson. “He’s on the big billboards, his portrait in colour. He’s on the radio ...”
Caplan became chair of the Downtown Business Improvement Area and served on such bodies as the Social Planning and Research Council. He ran for the Ward 1 seat in 1994 when then-alderman Terry Cooke stepped down to run for regional chair.
In the 2000 election of the new amalgamated city, he beat six others in a hard-fought campaign to become the councillor for Ward 1. He lost re-election in 2003 to Brian McHattie, possibly due to his support for the Red Hill Valley Parkway.
Caplan wanted to take care of people: family