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November 29, 2012 - Image 89

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-11-29

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Pioneer In Sleep Research


hen Sheldon Kapen, freshly
graduated from State
University of New York
(SUNY) at Syracuse Medical School, ful-
filled his dream in 1959 by making aliyah
to Israel, he had no idea where fate was
about to lead him, both personally and
professionally. But the course of the rest
of his life was about to be laid out before
him; and the seeds were being planted for
what would be both a wonderful marriage
and a distinguished, illustrious career,
each of which would last over half a cen-
Sheldon "Shelly" Kapen, M.D., a pio-
neer in sleep research and longtime chief
of neurology at the John Dingell Veterans
Administration Hospital in Detroit, died
on Thanksgiving morning, Nov. 22, 2012,
of an apparent heart attack. He had been
diagnosed some weeks earlier with acute
myeloid leukemia.
Dr. Kapen was born on May 19, 1935,
outside of Boston. As a young boy, his
family moved to San Antonio, Texas.
There he spent his formative years. A
child of divorce, he was in part raised by
his loving older sister, Nessa. Education
was to be a crucial part of his life, and
his early education included his Hebrew
studies at cheder and time spent at
Peacock Military Academy.
He entered college at age 16 at the

University of Wisconsin. From there, it
Virginia and Michigan.
During the Vietnam War, Dr. Kapen
was on to SUNY Syracuse Medical School.
He then made aliyah, intending to com-
was commissioned as a lieutenant com-
plete his internship in Israel. Not knowing mander in the U.S. Navy. He was sta-
very much Hebrew, he did what most new tioned at naval hospitals in Portsmouth,
ohm do and entered an Ulpan class.
Va., and Queens, N.Y.
As fate would have it, Rachel
Dr. Kapen established the
Garber, then just 20 years
sleep disorders center at
old and a native Israeli, was
the VA Hospital in Detroit
studying to become an Ulpan
nearly 30 years ago, the first
teacher. They met and fell in
certified sleep center in the
love. He would never leave her
entire VA system. Through
his clinical work and research
side, and he had an in-house
Hebrew teacher for the rest of
and his position as profes-
his life.
sor of neurology at Wayne
There followed stops at
State University School of
Dr. Sheld on Kapen
Asaf Ha-Rofeh Hospital and
Medicine, he helped countless
Hadassah/Hebrew University
patients, authored numer-
Medical School, at each of which, one of
ous papers and mentored a multitude of
their two older boys was born. It was at
medical students, residents and fellows.
Dr. Kapen retired from his positions
Hadassah, working as a researcher in the
physiology department, that his interest
less than a year ago. A plaque hangs in
in sleep medicine, which would become
his honor at the entrance to the sleep
his life's work, was kindled.
disorders center he established at the VA
The family soon moved to the United
States for family reasons. Two more
sons would be born. Dr. Kapen helped
Passionate Scholar
establish the field of sleep medicine
A scholar to the last, Dr. Kapen also
through his tireless work at several hos-
had a passion for archaeology and for
pitals and medical schools in Virginia,
European history, specifically World War
New York (Albert Einstein School of
II and the Holocaust. His house was filled
Medicine), Massachusetts (University
with books on this period in history, and
of Massachusetts Medical Center), West
he supported numerous organizations


JERRY BRAND, 73, of Canyon Lake,

Calif., died Nov. 24, 2012.
He is survived by his beloved wife,
Leslie Brand; children, Elena (Andy)
Kollin of Farmington Hills, Beverly (Chris)
Brand of San Francisco, Calif., Matthew
(Ruth) Brand of Peoria, Ariz.; grandchil-
dren, Elijah and Lily Kollin, and Dillon
and Mason Brand-Bellonzi; other loving
family members and friends.
Contributions may be made to Hillel
Day School of Metropolitan Detroit or to
the American Heart Association.

of Southfield, died Nov.,
24, 2012.
He was a survivor of
a Siberian Labor Camp
during World War II.
Mr. Eichler is survived
by his wife of 56 years,
Estalee Eichler; daugh-
ters and sons-in-law, Gail and Dr. Jeffrey
Frederick, Lanie Eichler, Ruth Eichler and
Pam and Steve Keiles; son and daughter-
in-law, Dr. Jay and Jodi Eichler; grandchil-

Jewish Cuisine

dren, Chelsey and Carly Eichler, and Lilly
Contributions may be made to Jewish
Hospice & Chaplaincy Network, 6555 W.
Maple, West Bloomfield, MI 48322, www.
jewishhospice.org; or a charity of one's
choice. Arrangements by Ira Kaufman

FLORENCE GALE, 91, of St. Louis Park,

Minn., passed away Nov. 10, 2012.
She is survived by her sons, Allan
(Linda Kahn) Gale of West Bloomfield,

dedicated to Holocaust research and
education. He was also a lifelong fan of
the Boston Red Sox and luckily was able
to enjoy seeing them win World Series
championships in 2004 and 2007.
His boyhood hero was Red Sox great
Ted Williams; and Dr. Kapen would
recount how, as a boy, he sent Williams a
get-well card when the player was down
with an injury. He received a personal
reply signed by the superstar himself.
Dr. Kapen is survived by his devoted
wife, Rachel Kapen; sons, Gilead (Karen)
Kapen, Mon (Amal) Kapen, Ehud (Debra)
Kapen, and Avi Kapen; grandchildren,
Kayla, Simon, Rome, Caleb, Michaela,
Alia and Matan Kapen, and Leah Schloss;
sister, Nessa (Alfred) Bertel; sister-in-law,
Shula (Avraham) Keret; nieces and neph-
ews, Eytan (Eve) Keret, Dafna (Shmulik)
Geva, and Sharon (Carl), Aaron (Yaffa)
and Mindy Bertel.
Internment was at Clover Hill Cemetery
in Birmigham.
Donations may be made to the
Holocaust Memorial Center, 28123
Orchard Lake Road, Farmington Hills, MI
48334; Jewish Federation of Metropolitan
Detroit, 6735 Telegraph, Bloomfield Hills,
MI 48301; or Leukemia and Lymphoma
Society of Michigan, 1471 E. 12 Mile,
Madison Heights, MI 48071. Arrangements
were by Ira Kaufman Chapel.

Dr. Stanley Gale of Rhode Island, Edward
Gale and Neal (Sandy) Gale of Minnesota;
sister, Shirley Grantz of Jerusalem; grand-
children, Eric Kahn Gale, Alyssa Kahn
Gale, Shawna (Ben) Bellows, Greg Gale;
great-grandson, Zachary Mark Bellows;
many loving nieces and nephews.
Mrs. Gale was preceded in death by
her husband, Harvey; two brothers; two
Services and shivah were held in

Obituaries on page 90



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November 29 • 2012


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