Nora H. Caplan, Writer and Advocate for Justice and Peace, Dies at 93

Sandy Spring, MD, Nora Hickman Caplan, age 93, passed away in Thomas Hall at Friends House of Covid-19, on Saturday, April 25, 2020.

Born in Springfield, MO on July 13, 1926, Nora relocated to Washington, D.C. after WWII. She worked at the Veterans Administration and the Library of Congress (1948-1951). Nora was a librarian for the Montgomery County Maryland Department of Public Libraries and served as Head Librarian for Noyes Children’s Library in Kensington (1966-1981). Nora’s professional writing career included published articles and stories in the Saturday Evening Post, Washington Post, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, and the Montgomery Journal. For many years, she wrote a monthly column, “Nora’s Corner,” for the Kentlands Town Crier/Town Courier.

In 2014, Nora fulfilled her lifelong dream of writing a published children’s book, “Noni’s Little Problem.” Set in small-town Missouri during the Depression, spunky 9-year-old Noni finds that kindness is the best way of coping with a bullying classmate who taunts her about her weight.

As a passionate advocate for justice and peace, along with her many hours of  volunteer service, Nora Caplan received several awards including the 2002 City of Gaithersburg “Distinguished Citizen”; 2009 Grand Marshal in the Kentlands Day parade; and was a Montgomery County Libraries honoree for initiating a library Penny Theater program.

Nora was an active volunteer on the Quince Orchard Library Advisory Board, Gaithersburg Arts in Public Places Committee, Kentlands Community Foundation, Kentlands Citizens Assembly, Kentlands Film Society, The Lincoln Forum, and was a founder of the Sharp Street Church connection with Sandy Spring Friends Meeting (SSFM). Her other SSFM activities included the SSFM Committee for Aging, Social Concerns Committee, Membership and Spiritual Care Committee, Indian Affairs Committee and the Friends Baltimore Yearly Meeting.

Nora’s own words about getting older paint the portrait of a well-lived life.

The first 12 years of my life were spent at Half-A-Hill restaurant and nightclub, my parents’ business in southwestern Missouri. From kindergarten through high school, I attended the lab school of what is now Missouri State University. After my parents sold our business, we moved to Springfield where I lived until I graduated from college with a B.S. in Education. After one year of teaching English in a rural Missouri high school, I could not wait to relocate to Washington, D.C.

After my career, becoming a grandmother and writing gave meaning to my retirement years. After the death of my husband in 1985, I adapted to a life change with weekly visits to my two grandsons, over a dozen Elderhostel trips, travels to France, Italy and England, visits to family in Indianapolis, Sacramento and Raleigh, writing a monthly column for the Courier and other publications, as well as publishing a children’s book.

Living at Friends House community for more than ten years created a new chapter for Nora.

There are compensations as I grow older―I feel as if I have sailed into a safe harbor. I finally know myself pretty well. I have a circle of loving family and friends. I have many interests that I now have time to explore. Most of all, I have more blessings than I can enumerate.

(The above is excerpted from “Nora’s Corner: Turning 90,” Town Courier, August 19, 2016.)

Preceded in death by her mother, Maude Belle Wilkerson Hickman; father, Walter Clarence Hickman; and husband, Leon Sandler Caplan; Nora Caplan is survived by her daughter, Lisa Caplan Dane and her husband, John H. Dane of Indianapolis, IN; and Jason Alan Caplan and his wife, Stephanie Caplan of Raleigh, NC; and Nora’s four grandchildren, Erik Ian Dane, Alexander de Bohun Dane, Hope Laurel Caplan and Cole William Caplan. Nora had two great-grandchildren, Nora Jean Dane and William “Mac” Dane.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, a future memorial service will be held at the Sandy Spring Meeting House in Sandy Spring, MD. Details to be announced at a later date.

Interment will be at the Hazelwood Cemetery in Springfield, MO. A future family gathering with details TBA.

Donations in Nora’s name can be made to a charity of choice. The family suggests the non-profit organization, “There With Care” which has been immensely supportive to Nora’s 4-year-old great-granddaughter (and namesake) Nora Jean Dane and her family during their challenge with childhood cancer.

Condolences can be included on the Greenlawn Funeral Home website:

For additional information, contact Lisa Dane: