Herbert “Herb” Kaplan of Riverdale passed away peacefully at 84 on Sept. 14, 2023, with his wife Leah Kaplan, children Mara Kaplan Pruzanski and Noah Kaplan, and longtime friend Roger Lipton by his side.
Locally, he was known for his involvement with the Riverdale Art Association, where he took great pleasure in mounting several of his photographic art called “Nature Up and Close and More.”
He was preceded in death by his mother Florence Molinsky Kaplan, father William H. Kaplan, and brother Dr. Seymour R. Kaplan. He is also survived by his two grandchildren Aden and Ayla Pruzanski, loving siblings Dr. Gail (Arnold) Kraft, Dr. Robert (Laurel) Kaplan, and his large extended family.
Born Nov. 1, 1938, he was raised in Hartford, Connecticut, one of four children born to immigrant parents who had fled antisemitism in Eastern Europe.
He earned his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in electrical engineering in 1961, joined the U.S. Navy as an intelligence officer during the Cuban missile crisis, and then obtained his MBA in 1965 from the Harvard Business School.
He spent much of his career as a successful executive at Dictaphone, then in his own consulting practice, and in his last years in the non-profit world. He shared lifelong passions with his wife in classical music, culture, travel and education.
They met as members of the Collegiate Chorale, where they sung at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center under renowned conductors such as Seiji Ozawa and Zubin Mehta.
As true partners, they enjoyed a great many adventures across 50 years of marriage — whether as beloved members of their SAJ congregation, constantly exploring places near and far in their frequent travels. They also founded the Lion Charter School in the South Bronx.
In retirement, he led an active intellectual life as a member of the HBS Alumni Association in New York, and as an avid reader with a keen interest in U.S. policy and politics.
Beginning in the early 2000s, in addition to taking photos to record his travels with his wife, he began to take pictures of nature, scenery and landscapes. These particular shots were taken not so much to show where we had been, but to record something he saw as beautiful.
He became more conscious of taking these kinds of timeless photos on vacations and close to home, especially at Wave Hill and New York Botanical Garden.
His photographs have been exhibited at his synagogue in Manhattan, Gallery 18 at The Riverdale Y, and KRVC Art at Amalgamated Houses.
Above all, he was a true mensch who touched all those who came into his orbit, and he will be sorely missed by his extensive family and friends who had the great luck to know him.
Donations in Herb Kaplan’s memory may be made to Lion Charter School in Hunts Point. Donations can be made online at tinyurl.com/32wzd5hy.