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January 19, 2012

Benjamin Kaplan, formerly of Monticello, NY and retired director of tourism and publicity for Sullivan County, NY, died on Thursday, January 12, 2012 in Chatham, MA. He was 98.

The son of the late Philip and Sarah Eig Kaplan, he was born in Brooklyn, NY on June 13, 1913. Mr. Kaplan went to Syracuse University where he majored in journalism. He served in the Air Force 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, and 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. He wrote a column for the Sullivan County Democrat from 1982 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.

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 NYS Board of Tourism Commissioners, which created the I Love NY ad campaign. He officiated basketball, soccer and baseball at the high school and community college level for more than 25 years. Mr. Kaplan was a member of the Landfield Avenue Synagogue in Monticello and the Jewish War Veterans, Post #206.

He is predeceased by his wife, Harriet and brothers, Moe and Lawrence Kaplan.

He is survived by his brother Morton; his sister Renee Fritsch and husband Robert; daughter Sari Kaplan Mittler and husband Joel; grandchildren Tracey Daniels, Mara Epstein, Jeremy Mittler, and daughter Ricki Kaplan Lacy and husband Steve, Carly and Emma Rothfeld; and three great grandchildren.

Services were held at the Joseph N. Garlick Funeral Homes in Monticello on Sunday, January 15. Interment followed at the Landfield Avenue Synagogue Cemetery.

Donations may be made to the Landfield Avenue Synagogue.