Michael I. Kaplan: A Life Remembered with Respect and Reverence
It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Michael I. Kaplan, a remarkable individual whose life was filled with talent, passion, faith, and devotion. He departed this world peacefully on November 21, 2023, at the age of 58, leaving behind a legacy that will forever be cherished.
Born on August 9, 1965, in Volusia County, FL, Michael grew up in Bergen County, NJ, where he honed his natural athleticism and distinguished himself in the sport of swimming. His exceptional skills in the butterfly stroke brought him to the brink of the 1980 Olympics, a testament to his unwavering dedication and perseverance.
Beyond his athletic pursuits, Michael possessed a gift for music, expertly playing the piano and captivating audiences with his soulful melodies. He was also an accomplished dancer, showcasing his grace and artistry. After serving with honor in the U.S. Army, his adventurous spirit led him to embark on a career as a Federal Warrant Retrieval Officer.
Michael pursued higher education and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science, with a minor in International Studies, from Georgia Southern University (Armstrong Atlantic). He demonstrated remarkable linguistic abilities, as he was fluent in five languages. In addition, he attained certifications in various fields, including Dive Medic, EMT, Culinary Arts, and Cybersecurity. Michael’s commitment to continuous learning was evident in his role as an instructional designer and author of several books on Cybersecurity. His final work, “Satan Has Met His Match,” completed recently, reflected his unwavering faith and his desire to inspire others to explore matters of faith and religion.
Throughout his life, Michael exhibited a deep love for his country and a profound desire to serve and support military personnel. He mentored both active and veteran members, emphasizing the importance of patriotism and camaraderie. Michael served as the Chairman of the Savannah Technical College Cyber Programs Advisory Committee and was an esteemed member of the Lion’s Club of Savannah. His dedication knew no bounds.
At the heart of Michael’s life was a deep devotion to this family. He was preceded in death by his grandparents; Sydney and Edith Schafman, his father, Robert E. Kaplan and his birth father, William “Bill” Wilson McGinn, Jr.
He leaves behind his devoted wife of 25 years, Donna Kaplan (Whittikki), a daughter, Serena Whittikki (fiancé, Steven Paul), his mother, Gail Kaplan Snell, and his brother, Jason Kaplan (Nancy), his sisters: Paige McGinn of Orlando, Kimberly Scott Camacho of Parrish, and Jinx Pruden of Virginia Beach, VA and sister-in-law, Marie Griffith (David). His niece and nephews, Darby Kaplan, Tristian Kaplan, Kevin Griffith (Sarah), and Daniel Griffith, held a special place in his heart.
Michael was adopted immediately after birth. He dearly loved his parents, brother and grandparents. Later in life he wanted to know his origins and utilized DNA to search. He was able to locate his half-sister, Paige. Although both birth parents were deceased, it started a cascade of genealogic knowledge of his heritage which began in Charlotte, Mecklenburg Co., NC. His fraternal cousins graciously began sending historical and genealogical information. It was a pleasure to watch Michael read, research, and reach out to the previously unknown families: McGinn, Alexander, Cooper.
Michael Kaplan’s life was a tapestry of diverse experiences, each contributing to the extraordinary individual he became. His legacy will live on in the hearts of those he touched, inspiring them to pursue their passions with unwavering determination and compassion.
A traditional memorial service for all family and friends will take place at Mickve Israel, 20 E Gordon St, Savannah, GA 31401, on Wednesday, January 10, 2024, at 3:00pm.
A special thank you to J.C. Lewis Cancer Center and Hospice Savannah, Inc. for their care and support of Michael’s final battle during which his mantra was, “If I breathe, I stand. If I stand, I fight.”