Longtime Ocean County GOP insider dead at 88

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Toms River – Joan E. Kaplan, 88, of Toms River passed away on Friday, December 10, 2021 at home surrounded by her loving family. She attended St. Mary’s Academy and was a 1951 graduate of Lakewood High School. She was predeceased by her parents, Horner and Mary (Sculthorpe) Shannon and her husband, Eugene Kaplan. She is survived by her children, Diane Stockton; Grant (Darlene) Chidester; George (Rita) Chidester; Bryce Chidester, Valerie Mc Nulty and special daughter, Peggy O’Neil Smoke, as well as her sisters, Claire Shannon Karlsen, Mary Shannon Reitz (Bill); Virginia “Ginny” Shannon Haines and brother William “Bill” Shannon. Joan was most proud of her grandchildren Douglas, Dale, Davina, Devin, Aaron, Brittaney; Amanda, Garrett, Kimberly, Naomi, Dan, Steven, John, Sarah, Jimmy, Destiny, Sophia, Sierra, Christian, Brenna, and her many great grandchildren.

Joan as many who knew her was always the life of the party no matter where she was going – give her a microphone and she would sing all night to old and popular songs from many decades. Growing up Joan sang in bands in Lakewood and was part of the Cameo club which sang at many events such as senior centers, to our veterans and at the Ocean County Republican Council Christmas/Holiday Party with the most favorite holiday song being the 12 Days of Christmas.

She began working as an usher at the Strand Theater, Lakewood and a telephone operator. Joan worked at the Ocean County Election Board for 25 years serving as the Commissioner of Elections, Investigator and retiring as the Republican Supervisor. She served as Vice Chair of the Ocean County Republican Organization under former Chairs Joe Buckelew and George Gilmore for many years. She was a former Lakehurst Councilwoman, a member of the Elks Lodge 1432, Lakewood, American Legion Auxiliary, Lakewood; Order of the Eastern Star, Gloria Chapter; National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Joshua Huddy Chapter, volunteer for 20 years at Kimball Medical Center and mediator for many municipal courts around Ocean County as well as for Superior Court Judges in Ocean County. She was a lifelong member of All Saints Episcopal Church serving in the Vestry and member of the church choir.

A visitation for Joan will be held on Wednesday, December 15, 2021 from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM at D’Elia Funeral Home, 1300 Vermont Avenue, Lakewood, NJ. A funeral service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, December 16, 2021 at All Saints Episcopal Church, 213 Madison Avenue, Lakewood, NJ. A committal service will follow at Woodlawn Cemetery, Lakewood, NJ In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Jude Hospital.

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.DEliaFuneralHome.com for the Kaplan family.