Editor’s note: Not leaving anything to chance, Ben Kaplan wrote his own obituary. His column “At Large” ran in the Democrat for part of three decades,
Benjamin (Ben) Kaplan, retired director of Tourism and Publicity for Sullivan County, died on January 12, 2012 in Chatham, Massachusetts. He was 98 years of age.
The son of the late Philip and Sarah Eig Kaplan, he was born in Brooklyn, NY, on June 13, 1913.
Mr. Kaplan attended the schools in Monticello and went on to Syracuse University where he majored in journalism. He then published a national trade paper for the glove industry in Gloversville, NY, selling the business in 1942 to serve in the Army Air Corps during World War II.
He engaged in a retail business on his return to Monticello and in 1957 was appointed executive director of the Sullivan County Hotel Association which had a membership of more than 200 active hotels. It was during this period that he served as treasurer of the nine-county Route 17 Association.
After 12 years with the Hotel Association, Mr. Kaplan moved into the county publicity directorship where he served until his retirement at the end of 1978. In 1982, the Sullivan County Democrat added him to its staff of columnists, his Friday columns continuing through 2005.
When he began to winter in Florida, Mr. Kaplan became director of the Visitor and Convention Bureau of the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches, serving for four years, until he once again retired.
Along the way he was a charter and life member of the Monticello Kiwanis Club, co-founder of the New York State Travel and Vacation Association, a member of Governor Hugh Carey’s Tourism Task Force and the state’s Board of Tourism Commissioners, which created the I Love NY ad campaign. Later, he co-chaired the committee which organized and conducted the Sullivan County South Florida Reunion in 1982.
He officiated basketball, soccer and baseball at the high school and community college level for more than 25 years and in the early 1960s, coached the Orange County Community College basketball team for two seasons.
Mr. Kaplan was a member of the Landfield Avenue Synagogue in Monticello and the Jewish War Veterans, Post #206.
He was pre-deceased by his wife Harriet and brothers Moe and Lawrence Kaplan. He is survived by his brother Morton and his sister Renee Fritsch (Robert), his daughter Sari Kaplan Mittler (Joel) and grandchildren Tracey Daniels, Mara Epstein (Eric), Jeremy Mittler, and daughter Ricki Kaplan Lacy (Steve) and grandchildren Carly and Emma Rothfeld, and great-grandchildren Hannah, Joshua and Matthew.
Services will be held at the Joseph N. Garlick Funeral Homes in Monticello on Sunday, January 15 at 11 a.m. and interment in the Landfield Avenue Synagogue Cemetery.
Donations in Ben’s memory may be made to the Landfield Avenue Synagogue, P.O.Box 410, Monticello, NY 12701.
For further service details, directions to the funeral home, or to leave an online condolence for Ben’s Family, please visit www.josephngarlickfuneralhome.com.