James Richard Kaplan, chairman of Cornell Dubilier, passes away

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — James R. Kaplan, 87, passed away on Sunday, July 3, 2022.

He was born in Windber, Pa., in 1934, where his father was a coal miner. He received a basketball scholarship to the College of William and Mary, where he had an illustrious career. He earned his B.S. degree in 1957 and then married Jane Thompson, his college sweetheart. Jim turned down the opportunity to play professional basketball with the St. Louis Hawks and instead chose to join the Army, where he was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant and served as a missile officer. He spent three years in Palos Verdes, Calif., at the Nike Hercules site.

In 1961, Jim joined Cornell Dubilier Electronics as a field engineer in Los Angeles. After advancing through the organization, Jim became president in 1978. In 1983, he headed a leveraged buyout and acquired the company from Exxon. Over the years, the company has expanded and is now a world leader in the provider of capacitors with six manufacturing locations and over 1,000 employees.

Jim was active in the electronics industry as a member of the Electronics Industry Association (EIA), vice president of the Components Group, president of the Electronics Distribution Show (EDS) and received the electronics industry’s honor in 2015, the Gail S. Carter Lifetime Achievement Award.

As part of corporate life, the family moved from California to Illinois then to New Jersey, where family vacations were at the Long Beach Island house.

In 1998, Jane and Jim moved to Williamsburg, Va., and lived at Governor’s Land, where Jim played the golf that he loved and served as president of the club.

Jim was active at the College of William and Mary, but his true passion was the athletic department at the college, specifically with the basketball program. He was a trustee of the College of William and Mary Endowment Association, a member of the Board of Directors of the Alumni Society, the President’s Council, a member of the William and Mary Athletic Hall of Fame and was awarded the alumni Distinguished Military Award.

Supporting his favorite causes gave him such pleasure. Among others, Medical College of Virginia became one of these, being a member of the Discovery Society Board. Jim loved St. Bede Catholic Church, especially the Catholic Campus Ministry.

Family was the biggest part of Jim’s life. He loved being with all of them and never hesitated in giving them advice.

He is survived by his wife, Jane of 65 years; their children, Paula Dugan (Peter), Michael, James (Julee) and Margaret Kaplan; grandchildren, Amy Cobb (Brandon), Alison Pilgrim (Nate), Jack (Sarah Manfredo), Annie, Patrick, Peter and Maggie Dugan, Jamie, Claire and Tomson Kaplan; great-grandchildren, Elizabeth, Wesley  and Jack; and brother-in-law, Paul Thompson and family.

He was predeceased by his son, Eric; parents, Peter and Anna (Volk) Kaplan; and 10 siblings.

A memorial service was held at St. Bede on July 8.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Kaplan Family Men’s Basketball Scholarship Endowment. Interment will be private.