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Diane Perkins Papo Kaplan

1936 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Diane Perkins Papo Kaplan Obituary
July 29, 1936 - September 27, 2016 Diane was born on July 29th in 1936 in Los Angeles, California to Kenneth Wallace and Alberta Smith. She was their only child; a daughter who was feminine and beautiful, helpful to her mother, gentle, gracious and kind, while at the same time a strong, adventurous, creative and brave girl who loved problem solving and working with her hands side by side with her father. She could ride a horse and slaughter a rabbit and she filled their lives with happiness and pride. She was a loving and dedicated daughter all their lives, graciously and tenderly taking care of them to the very end. An "A" student at Van Nuys High School, she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from UCLA in 1959. She was a member of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority, and in 1957 was a finalist for UCLA homecoming queen. Her love for travel was sparked by a college student trip to Europe in 1957. She worked tirelessly the previous summer and school year saving up the $1200 to pay for the 3 month, 16-country trip. It was a trip that planted the seed of adventuring in her. After graduating UCLA, she taught second grade at Hesby Street Elementary School in Sherman Oaks, then turned her attentions to starting a family and supporting her husband Rowland in his career as an agent with the William Morris Agency, and Creative Artists Agency, of which he was a founder. Support involved a great deal of entertaining clients, of which she excelled at. Any guest at her table, saw the grace, elegance and care she put into each detail and meal. Diane and Rowland had three daughters - Kamala, Dahra and Alexandra. As a member of the Screen Actors Guild, she did some acting, appearing on several television series' including "The Tycoon" with Walter Brennan, "The Good Guys" with Bob Denver and a TV movie called "The House on Green Apple Hill." In later years, she worked in commercials for Honda and Sears. Volunteering and giving back to her city and community was always at the top of her "to do" list. In 1977 she led a delegation of students representing the City of Los Angeles to Japan for the "Los Angeles-Nagoya Sister City Association Annual Event" where she addressed the audience in Japanese. In 1971 she became a member of The Center Theatre Group Affiliates, a group that supports the Ahmanson and Mark Taper Theatres at the Music Center in Los Angeles. In 1980 she served as President of the group. As a member of the National Charity League, an organization that promotes community service and supports a reading center for children with learning disabilities, she served as President of the 9th grade Mother's and Daughters. She gave back to her alma mater UCLA by joining Las Donas, a support group for the university, which raises "friends not funds." A favorite organization of Diane's, she served as their Vice-President and Treasurer. After President Ronald Reagan retired, she served as one of his assistants organizing special events such as the opening of the Reagan Library and the Freedom Award Ceremony for Mikael Gorbechov. She planned lunch for Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada and Reagan's birthday dinner with Margaret Thatcher. On the Board of Directors for the Bel Air Association, she served as Special Events Chairman for 15 years, using her organizational skills and gift for entertaining to plan numerous events per year for them. As an amateur wildlife photographer and a lover of all wild things and places on our planet, she supports the World Wildlife Fund, Oceanic Conservancy and Environmental Defense Fund. With her second husband, Jack Joseph Papo, and her present husband Murray Kaplan, she travelled the globe extensively - to Europe Asia and Africa, from Canada and Alaska to South America and Antarctica. Diane was a snow skier, water skier, and certified SCUBA diver. She flew planes and jumped out of a plane with parachute to celebrate her 40th birthday, dove with blue sharks off Catalina Island to celebrate her 50th. At 55 she tried hang gliding. She swam with reef sharks in Roatan, whale sharks in the Sea of Cortez and went cage diving with great white sharks off South Africa. She's had breakfast with an orangutan in Singapore, and rubbed shoulders with his wilder relatives in the jungles of Borneo, ridden camels in Egypt and Israel, sat with tigers in Thailand, cheetahs in Zambia and gorillas in the mists of Uganda. She's photographed polar bears in the Arctic, pandas in the wilds of China, snorkeled with humpback whales off the Dominican Republic and hobnobbed with penguins on an ice floe in Antarctica. The photos that cover the walls of her home are testament to the many more adventures she's had that are too numerous to mention in one sitting! In her lifetime, she explored every continent on the planet, and visited 101 countries. She stayed busy owning and managing her own real estate, and thoroughly enjoyed her friendships and social life at the Del Rey Yacht Club with husband Murray. Five words come to mind when thinking about how to describe Diane: Grace, Courage, Compasssion, Generosity, and Adventure. Dear Mother, Wife, Grandmother and Friend. You are missed more than you could have imagined. Having known you has made the lives of those who your kind, loving spirit touched all the richer. Diane is survived by husband Murray Kaplan, daughters Kamala Perkins James, Dr. Dahra Diane Perkins, Alexandra Perkins Furlong, and grandchildren Zoe Perkins Lehr, Harper and Grace James, Annabel and Riley Furlong.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Sept. 29 to Sept. 30, 2016
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