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Carol G. Kaplan

March 11, 1946 April 2, 2020
Carol G. Kaplan
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Obituary for Carol G. Kaplan

Carol Genyea Kaplan died April 2, 2020 at Harper University Hospital (DMC) in Detroit. She was 74 years old. Carol was born Carol Ann Griffith on March 11, 1946 in Washington, Pennsylvania to Gertrude Jane (Yeaman) Griffith and Leo Griffith. At age 17 she came to the Detroit area with her 11-month-old daughter and first husband. In the early years she did some photographic modeling in both Detroit and New York. She became involved in theater and briefly taught children’s theater at the old Actor’s Studio in St. Clair Shores, Michigan.

She worked her way through college and graduate school and obtained an M.A. in biology and an M.S. in cell and molecular biology. She and her second husband were actively involved in the movement against the Vietnam War and worked for civil rights. She became a vocal member of the “Second Wave” of the women’s movement and worked for integration of up-scale restaurants in the Metro Detroit area, reproductive rights, and helped found the Oakland Crisis Center for Rape and Sexual Abuse and the domestic violence shelter, Haven. She belonged to the women’s speaker’s bureau and spoke and wrote articles about rape and domestic violence. She taught the first women’s study course at Oakland University entitled “Survival for Women in Metro Detroit” and taught women’s health classes in the US and Canada.

Carol also served as adjunct faculty at Oakland Community College where she taught general biology and anatomy and physiology. She was very drawn toward a career in medicine, but she did not have finances to pursue a medical degree. Instead, she used her expertise in molecular biology to work in medical research for 20 years at Wayne State University School of Medicine in the field of immunology.

Carol was a poet and had one collection of poetry published, An Ordinary Heart (1997, Ridgeway Press). She won several literary prizes, including two awards from the Academy of American Poets. A poem that she wrote for the National Botanic Garden was read by James Earl Jones in a film about the garden. Her poem, “Another Woman,” has become an anthem for the struggle of women against domestic violence and is used all over the world. Another poem about hunger, entitled, “Empty Bowls,” has been used at numerous Empty Bowls charitable events. She cared deeply about nature and human rights.

Carol enjoyed cooking, painting and photography. One of the joys of her life was traveling. With her third husband, she went to Japan, India, Italy, France, Finland, and many other beautiful locations both overseas and domestically. She documented these travels with beautiful photography.

Being a mother and grandmother were the most cherished parts of her life. Carol is survived by her daughter Patrice Michelle (Berry) Lane, Son-in-law Michael J. Lane, and her two grandchildren, Abigail Rose Lane, and Ruth Elizabeth Lane. She was also a lover of animals and had many pets throughout her life including parrots, cats, dogs, and even raised frogs. She believed strongly in animal rescue and adoption. Her most recent beloved dog companion was a rescue dog named Buddy, who lives now with a friend.

The family is deeply grateful for the love and care she received from her dear friends and dedicated hospice workers. A private burial will be held at Franklin Cemetery and a public memorial will be planned when conditions allow for larger gatherings. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations would be appreciated to Haven Shelter from Domestic Violence (Oakland County), or the Michigan Humane Society.

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