Deceased Information

  • DECEASED

    Leon Eplan

  • AGE

    92

  • DATE OF DEATH

    Thursday, April 15, 2021 (Before Sunset)

  • DATE OF FUNERAL

    Friday, April 16, 2021

  • TIME OF FUNERAL

    2:00 PM

  • PLACE OF FUNERAL

    Via Zoom. See Obituary below.

  • PLACE OF BURIAL

  • SHIVA INFORMATION

    Shiva will be held via Zoom on Sunday, April 18 from 4- 6pm and Monday, April 19, from 7- 8:15pm.


    Click HERE to join the shiva.


    Meeting ID: 840 7119 5866

    Passcode: 811142

  • DONATIONS

    • ❖ The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta for the Boys High Scholarship Fund

      191 Peachtree Street, Suite 1000, Atlanta, GA 30303

    • William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum

      1440 Spring Street Atlanta GA 30309

  • OBITUARY

    Click HERE to view the funeral live.

    Meeting ID: 841 9285 9802
    Passcode: 821801

    Leon Eplan, a man of infectious optimism whose life’s work helped lift the city of Atlanta to new
    heights, passed away on April 15th, 2021 at the age of 92. He is survived by his three children,
    Elise Eplan (Bob Marcovitch), Jana Eplan (Craig Frankel) and Harlan Eplan (Jen Denbo), as
    well as six grandchildren; Gil, Tali and Tamir Eplan-Frankel; Max and Hannah Marcovitch; and
    Madeleine Denbo Eplan. His wife, Madalyne Buchman Eplan and his sister, Carolyn Goldsmith,
    predeceased him.

    Born to Sam and Bess Eplan on November 24, 1928, Leon was a fourth generation Jewish
    Atlantan. He grew up in Midtown, attending Boys High (now Grady High School) and later
    Emory University. He participated in the AZA youth organization, where he was elected to
    regional and national positions. He relished the debate, basketball, dances and travel during
    those years, retaining life-long friendships that he cherished.

    A self-described wayward student in his early youth he hit his stride in his 20s accumulating
    masters degrees from the University of Tennessee, the University of North Carolina and the
    London School of Economics.

    After a short stint in the army, he met and married Madalyne Buchman in 1959, and they shared
    a wonderful and adventuresome life together. With their three children, extended family and
    countless friends, their Ansley Park home was always full of people. Leon loved his big rambling
    house and was devoted to the neighborhood. He often liked to recount that he and Madalyne
    couldn’t get a loan when they first sought to live in Ansley Park because the neighborhood was
    redlined by the banks as a neighborhood “in decline.” Leon crafted a neighborhood plan in the
    1960s, helping to revive the neighborhood to its historic glory. They lived in the house for 50
    years.

    He began a long and illustrious city planning career as a consultant to cities around the country.
    During this time, he was also involved in the planning of the MARTA rail system. In 1974, he
    was tapped by the newly elected mayor, Maynard Jackson, to become the Commissioner of
    Budget and Planning, serving in that role from 1974 - 1978. One of his most enduring
    accomplishments during that time was the creation of the Neighborhood Planning (NPU)
    program which gives local neighborhoods a voice in local development and was considered a
    bold innovation when it was created. In 1979, he was named the Director of Graduate Studies in
    City Planning at Georgia Tech. He served as President of the American Institute of Planners
    (now the American Planning Association) and won numerous city planning honors and awards.
    He proudly chaired the board of the Boys High Alumni Association and was a longtime board
    member of Southface Energy Institute.

    Leon continued to teach and consult until 1990 when Mayor Jackson asked him to return to City
    Hall to help prepare Atlanta for the 1996 Olympic games. Embedded in this work was a driving
    purpose far bigger than putting on successful global games. Leon deeply believed that the
    Olympics should be a vessel for urban Atlanta’s contemporary rebirth. “We’re not doing these
    things simply for the Olympics,” he said. “We’re using the Olympics to build a new city.”
    Decades later, in his late eighties, he was one of three authors of a just published book on the
    subject, Atlanta’s Olympic Resurgence.

    In 1991, Leon spearheaded and helped broker a resolution between GA DOT and multiple
    intown neighborhood associations to avert a highly controversial highway extension. The result
    of this work was the John Lewis Freedom Parkway, which added miles of usable greenspace to
    the inner city. This was a source of great pride for him.

    Leon held many convictions as a visionary planner, including the need to transition away from a
    car dependent city to a more pedestrian and public-transit friendly place, the need for affordable
    housing, and the vital role that parks and greenspace play in the livability of a city. He also felt
    that a city’s magic lay in its rich diversity - he was involved in and passionate about civil rights
    and social justice throughout his life.

    Most of all, Leon fiercely loved Atlanta, “From my father and grandfather, I inherited a feeling
    that the city was very important and that it was my obligation to give back to the city.” It filled him
    with enormous pride that his three children chose to live in and raise their children in Atlanta,
    living around the corner from each other in Morningside. His faith in the promise of his beloved
    city never wavered.

    His family will be forever grateful to wonderful, loving caregivers who made his final days
    peaceful and comfortable - Chantelle, Peggy and Juliana. In addition, the staff from Agape
    Hospice were invaluable in the last few weeks.

    Funeral will be family only but others can join via Zoom. Funeral and shiva Information can be
    found at: Dressler’s Jewish Funerals (https://dresslerjewishfunerals.com). If you wish to honor
    Leon, please consider donations to Boys High Scholarship Fund - (The Community
    Foundation for Greater Atlanta for the Boys High Scholarship Fund, 191 Peachtree Street,
    Suite 1000, Atlanta, GA 30303), The Breman Jewish Heritage Museum
    (https://www.thebreman.org/) or a charity of your choice.

GUESTBOOK

Please click here for a printer friendly version.

  • The Dressler Family

    May the memories of our loved ones remain for a blessing.

  • Donna Rothstein

    Jana, Please know my thoughts are with you and your family. Warmly, Donna Rothstein


  • Neil Rubin

    Dear Jana, Craig and family: I have wonderful memories of your dad and extended family from my years in Atlanta. I remember being graciously invited to Shabbat dinner at your parents house and the warmth I always felt. Ronit and I send our virtual hug from Baltimore for a man and family whom we deeply respect.


  • Albert Sweet (Bert)

    I was saddened to learn of the loss of Leon, who seemed immortal. Please accept my deepest condolences. I remember, from 1948, playing 2 x 2 touch football by the fraternity house, on the side street off N. Decatur Rd, every afternoon after lunch, it was Leon and I vs. Sheldon Gelburd and Harry Kruger. May history note and remember what is said here.


  • David Mermin

    Very sad to lose Leon and Madalyne so closely in time - such wonderful, warm, generous people, they enriched my life and obviously so many others. Leon was a true mensch and a role model to me growing up, even if I didn't realize it at the time. He had so much to teach and share about building a community, making the world better, and being a loving, funny, supportive, caring dad. I want to hug all the Eplans and hope to do so in the near future! Love and condolences to you all.


  • Janet Sugarman

    Elise and Jana, I'm sa sorry to read of your father's death, and so soon after the lose of your wonderful mother. Please know that Jerry and I have you and your families in our hearts and minds.


  • Betty H Kabaker

    So many years of friendship with Leon. He will always be in my heart.


  • Rhoda Nichaman

    May the fond memories of your lives together be a comfort to you at this sad time. Love and all the best, Rhoda


  • Dennis Creech

    Leon was indeed a visionary. However, sometimes our visionaries are people with large egos. This was not Leon. He never really sought the spotlight. He was humble, wickedly funny, smart, quick to laugh and most generous with sharing his wisdom. He was also tenacious. For years, he chipped away at stale traditional thinking and today we are better in many ways.


  • Sherie and Artie

    We enjoyed being able to hear all the wonderful comments and stories about Leon this afternoon. We will miss the warmth he showed us over the past 30+ years. Whenever we saw him - at 1 Barksdale or in the community - he was always so interested in how we and our kids were doing. I think we "disappointed" him, though, when we moved to Dunwoody - that was not the same as Atlanta - from his perspective, that was like moving to another country! We were privileged to have been even a small part of the life of such an incredible person, and we will continue to cherish our friendship with his family. Please know that all of you are in our thoughts and prayers.


  • Martin and Flo Richman

    Almost 70 years ago, Marty and Leon became Army buddies at Camp Gordon in Augusta, part of a small group of enlisted men, fresh with graduate degrees, who were assembled to write a crash course in the social sciences for the summer training of civil affairs-military government reserve officers. Improbably, we pulled it off, and had a lot of fun together on the side. As the "local" guy, Leon was our spark plug for many weekend expeditions -- to Atlanta often, of course, and also Savannah, Columbia and Isle of Pines. Later, Leon organized several reunions of the group, now fortified with spouses, at various locations in the South. These were also good fun. But most memorable over the years and decades that followed our Army service were trips to Atlanta that Marty and Flo, and once our children as well, took in connection with work or Bar events, or just pure pleasure. The hospitality at One Barksdale of Leon and Madalyne was exceptional, and we enjoyed many good times with their friends, whom we came to cherish over the years. And there was. unfailingly, a welcome tour -- no matter the hour of arrival -- of the sites of current urban planning efforts, or in some cases sites yet to be transformed by them, accompanied by Leon's informative and enthusiastic narration. We loved Leon and Madalyne dearly. Marty knew and admired Leon's parents, and we both came to know and love Elyse, Jana and Harlan and their families in turn. Our hearts and thoughts are with you all.


  • Barbaa & Dick Planer

    Our love and condolences to you on your loss. Leon's impact will live on in his beloved city, but his true legacy lies in his and Madalyne's outstanding children. Their influence shines in the three of you.


  • Eunice Gloveer

    My deepest condolences to you and your family. We sincerely appreciate all of the wonderful things Mr. Leon Eplan did for the City of Atlanta and the Community. Mr. Eplan will always be remembered for the talent you shared with the City of Atlanta and all who came in contact with you. Many thanks!


  • Barbara Klein Davis

    Leon will be missed by all who knew him and those that love him. I certainly will never forget his graciousness and generosity in the time I spent in the house and with the family.


  • Barbara Klein Davis

    Leon will be missed by all who knew him and those that love him. I certainly will never forget his graciousness and generosity in the time I spent in the house and with the family.


  • Larry Pike

    A wonderful man. On a personal level Bonnie and I were lucky enough to have Leon and Madalyne as neighbors in Ansley Park. On a community level Atlanta owes much to Leon. My condolences to Elise, Jana and Harlan.


  • Larry Pike

    A wonderful man. On a personal level Bonnie and I were lucky enough to have Leon and Madalyne as neighbors in Ansley Park. On a community level Atlanta owes much to Leon. My condolences to Elise, Jana and Harlan.


  • Larry Pike

    A wonderful man. On a personal level Bonnie and I were lucky enough to have Leon and Madalyne as neighbors in Ansley Park. On a community level Atlanta owes much to Leon. My condolences to Elise, Jana and Harlan.


  • Jamie Weisman and Victor Balaban

    Harlan, Jana, and Elise - I adored your parents, that warm and wonderful home on Barksdale that was. a haven from suburbia. Your dad's vision of Atlanta has been realized so many ways, and though I know he would always think he had more work to do, I am so happy he knows his legacy will endure. Our thoughts are with you all - Madelyn and Leon passed down their warmth, generosity, compassion and vision to all of you. My love to the three of you, to Jen, Craig and Bob, and all the grandkids. Their lives were gifts to all of us.


  • Ghila and David Sanders

    Dear Elise, Jana and Harlan, we are deeply sorry for your loss and grateful to Leon for his vision, leadership and boundless spirit. May his memory be a blessing and his life celebrated for generations to come.


  • Lisa Zier

    Jana, Elise and Harlan - please know I’m thinking of you during this very difficult time. Your dad was a wonderful man - I know he was extremely proud of you all.


  • Louise and Bob Gerber

    Our condolences to Leon's immediate and extended family. Leon was a mentor, colleague and proud to say a friend. Bob


  • Terry and Lisa Sheahan

    What a beautiful service. Clearly Leon was well loved and respected by family, friends and colleagues. A life well lived, thoughts are with you all today.


  • Sheli and Sam Feldman

    Elise and Jana and families, We are so sorry for the loss of your beloved father. A true Atlanta icon like no other, he was cherished by his many friends and family. May his memory be a blessing. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time of loss of your parents.


  • Nicole Lue

    I only had the opportunity to meet Mr. Eplan briefly at a family event, but in that time I found him to be so delightful and proud of his grandchildren. The way he spoke of my friend and his grandchild, Hannah, makes me so proud to know her. I know he will be very missed.


  • Rosamarie Soltero McHugh

    My deepest condolences to you and your family. Leon was a great inspiration to me as I embarked on my City Planning Studies at Georgia Tech. I always remembered his teachings fondly and used his license plate tag "Plan it" as an inspiration, every time I had a problem to solve - just plan it! May his enthusiasm for great cities live on and may he Rest In Peace. With much love, Rosa


  • Leah LaRue

    Sincerest condolences to the family with appreciation for Mr. Eplan's contributions to the City of Atlanta, to the Department of City Planning, to Atlanta's neighborhoods and to the neighborhood planning unit (NPU) system.


  • Michael and Alana Steinberg

    Sending all of our love as we remember and celebrate Leon.


  • Karen Smith

    May Leon's memory be for blessings and for changes for good in the world


  • Gary & Sherry Marsh

    Our hearts go out to all of you over your father’s passing. He was such a force for good in both the Atlanta and Jewish communities. Our deepest condolences to you at this very difficult time.


  • Gary & Sherry Marsh

    Our hearts go out to all of you over your father’s passing. He was such a force for good in both the Atlanta and Jewish communities. Our deepest condolences to you at this very difficult time.


  • Stephen and Annette Friedman

    Dearest Friends, We have lost another icon in our community. We are so saddened by Leon's death. He was part of my life for as long as I can remember. Your entire family has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. Leon made a major impact in his life. I know you were all proud of him, as he was of you. We are so sorry we cannot be with you physically today, but please know we are with you in spirit and thought. Hoping to be with you at happier times. Love, Stephen and Annette


  • Maggie Mermin

    I remember running into Leon the day the Inman Park Marta Station opened. He was so proud and happy, and we were so grateful to him for his work. He was also a lovely person and I know this a loss to the whole community as well as a deep personal loss to you. Love from Susan and me


  • Gail & Lyons Heyman

    Your father, Leon, was a dear cousin and friend our our father, Leon Goldstein. Your family are our cousins on grandmother Rubye Eplan Goldstein's side and we have always felt a special connection. Sorry for your loss. Your parents were extraordinary.


  • Claire Powell Ward

    Your dad's love of Atlanta was always infectious. It certainly rubbed off on my parents. He and dad dug up VW bus full of cobblestones from the older streets of Atlanta before they were resurfaced.... I smile whenever I see them in the garden. I hope our folks are together again, eating, singing and partying just like the old days. Sending love, Claire


  • Michael Rich

    Elise: My deepest condolences to you and your family. I appreciate so much how helpful Leon was in acquainting me to Atlanta and sharing his insights on various city revitalization initiatives. He was also very generous with his time, frequently meeting with my students and faculty colleagues. He was a terrific public servant and will be well-remembered for his contributions to Atlanta.


  • Davis Fox

    Leon cared about the people he knew and those he'd never meet. He was a good man.


  • Sandra Adair

    Elise, Jana and Harlan, My sincere condolences on the loss of your father who was a delightful and accomplished individual. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this time.


  • Rick and Stacey Rubin

    We are saddened for your family's loss. Leon was always so nice and entertaining to be around.


  • Jason Chernock

    As a fist-year city planning graduate student at Georgia Tech, Leon had no need to entertain my request to interview him for a student paper. But he did, inviting me into his home and spending hours answering any question I could think of. In doing so he gave me a master class in urban history, a greater understanding of Atlanta's place in the world, and a lesson in humility that will always resonate with me. He was an inspiration who will be truly missed.


  • Elise and Gary Meyer

    Elise, Jana and Harlan, our thoughts are with you as you deal with the loss of your dad. He was a wonderful man and one who touched the lives of so many. Your parents raised caring children and were so proud of each of you. May his memory be a blessing.


  • Suzanne Apple

    Thinking of the family and keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers. It is such a loss for the city of Atlanta and for everyone who knew him. He was larger than life itself and will be missed. His was a life well-lived. Much love.


  • steve gilmer

    Jana and Elise and families sorry to hear of your loss, what a nice man ! It is difficult to lose both parents in such a short time ,all the best


  • steve gilmer

    Jana and Elise and families sorry to hear of your loss, what a nice man ! It is difficult to lose both parents in such a short time ,all the best


  • Steve Nygren

    Leon was a Giant in the planning world and we have so much to be thankful for due to his visionary leadership. He was such a wonderful supporter and mentor as we crafted the rebirth of Midtown, building on the MARTA grid that he recognized as vital for a walkable urban center. Thinking of you as you mourn the loss and celebrate the glory of Leon's life.


  • Chantelle Johnson

    My life will be forever impacted by the Eplan family. Elise, Jana, Harlan, your kindness for others was clear to see where it came from. Leon was a remarkable man. Truly kind to the very end. Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to be able to care for Dad. He is forever in my heart and memory, and I too will miss him a great deal. Please accept my deepest condolences to you all and know you are in my thoughts always.


  • Barbara Klein Davis

    Leon will be missed by all who knew him and those that love him. I certainly will never forget his graciousness and generosity in the time I spent in the house and with the family.


  • Barbara Klein Davis

    Leon will be missed by all who knew him and those that love him. I certainly will never forget his graciousness and generosity in the time I spent in the house and with the family.


  • Penny and Ray McPhee

    Our deepest condolences to you and all your family. We cherish so many happy Hanukkahs with Leon. His legacy is lasting in our city. May your wonderful memories bring peace at this difficult time. All our love.


  • Neal Buchman

    Elise, Jana, Harlan, Bob, Craig and Jen. I am so sad! Uncle Leon was bigger than life — I really thought he would live forever. I know that his reputation will live on in his beloved field and city. And I know his memory will also live long through his beloved Hannah, Max, Gil, Tamir, Tali and Maddie. We will miss him.


  • Jeff Rader

    Even more than for his considerable accomplishments as a practitioner, Leon Eplan will be remembered as an inspiration to those who cared about and wanted to improve Atlanta. Whenever you left his presence you were inspired by his urgency to take one more step towards a humane and inclusive city. The sparkle in his eye and his utter confidence that you could make the essential difference. He will live on in the hearts of all whom he touched.


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