Jay Kaplan, who owned the trucking firm his father founded and led industry advocacy groups, died Feb. 24 in Hospice of Northwest Ohio, Perrysburg Township. He was 76.
He had cancer, his daughter, Kelly Nordin, said.
Kaplan had been president and owner of Freightway Corp., a freight-hauling firm in North Toledo. In its prime, Freightway had more than 100 tractors and several hundred trailers moving beer for Buckeye Brewing, transmissions for General Motors, and windshields for Cadillacs from the Libbey-Owens-Ford Co. plant in Rossford, Ohio.
Jay Kaplan via LinkedIn
He scaled back in the late 1990s and sold the North Toledo property to his brother and sister-in-law, Dean and Kim Kaplan, for their tanker truck company, K-Limited Carrier.
“He was our biggest cheerleader,” said his brother, who was a Freightway vice president. “He was the mover and shaker of the Kaplan side of the family. He taught me a great deal.”
Kaplan formed Freightway Logistics, which has a limited fleet for freight hauling, and based it at Rockland Truck and Trailer Storage in Millbury, Ohio, where he was property manager. He worked most days until about six weeks ago.
“Business was everything to him,” said Chryl Kimberly, his life partner. “Seeing people and talking to people just made him so happy.”
He was a former president of the Ohio Trucking Association. He served on the executive committees of the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments, the Toledo Area Committee for Improved Transportation, and the Maumee River Crossing Task Force. He was a trustee of what is now the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce.
“He was a firm believer in giving back to the trucking industry,” said his brother, who is first vice chairman of the Ohio Trucking Association.
He was a former council member, police commissioner and mayor of Berkey in western Lucas County, Ohio.
He was born Oct. 18, 1941, to Marge and Lester Kaplan. After his mother died, he was reared in Oregon by his maternal grandparents, Florence and Walter Cornett. He was a graduate of Clay High School.
He worked for Freightway as a mechanic, but when his father died in 1967, he and his brother Rodney were thrust into the role of running the business. “Rod and Jay’s education came from hard work,” brother Dean said.
Kaplan lived the last 12 years in Oregon with Ms. Kimberly.
“We were complete soul mates,” she said. “We had the same thought at the same time. We were so connected. There was not a day we did not laugh.”