Congressman Gilman remembered as class act
WAPPINGERS FALLS, NY — Congressman Benjamin Gilman, who served in Congress from 1972 through 2003, passed away on December 17 at a veteran’s hospital in Wappingers Falls. He served 15 terms, representing a district that included all or parts of Orange, Rockland, Sullivan and Westchester counties. At the time of his retirement, he was the oldest member of Congress.
During his career in Congress, he also served as a congressional delegate to the United Nations and as chair of the House Committee on International Relations. He was also deeply involved with committees that dealt with drug addiction, hunger, prisoners of war and missing in action.
Steve Neuhause, Orange County executive, wrote on his Facebook page, “Congressman Gilman epitomizes how elected officials should conduct themselves and treat others. He was a class act and is responsible for mentoring and shaping many of today’s leaders in Orange County and beyond.”
In 1933, Gilman, who was Jewish, travelled with his father to Berlin to try to persuade an aunt to move to the United States because life was becoming too dangerous of Jews. The aunt refused to leave, and her letters stopped going to the Gilman family in 1937.
During World War II, Gilman flew 35 bombing missions over Japan, and earned a Distinguished Flying Cross medal.