Rita Kaplan, a New Jersey Native, Dies at 75
Rita Kaplan succumbed to her cancer after a 2 ½ year battle Friday December 8, 2017 in peaceful comfort at Vassar Brothers Medical Center with her family nearby. Born in Manhattan on September 28, 1942 to Irene (Chess) and Louis Stich, she spent her adolescent years in Teaneck, New Jersey and graduated from Teaneck High School in 1960. She received her Bachelors degree in English minoring in history, from Syracuse University in 1964 and continued on at Yeshiva University to receive her Masters degree. Certified in English Kindergarten through grade 12, she began teaching in the Ramapo Central School District in Rockland County where, while tutoring homebound students after school, she met her future husband, Stephen E. Kaplan. In June 1967 when he completed his dental training at Columbia University, they were married in Teaneck and immediately set off on their 50 year adventure together beginning in the northwest United States where he was serving in the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) returning to Dutchess County in 1969 where they have continued to reside working and raising a family.
Interested in museums, art, music, architecture, and travel, Rita incorporated the lessons and information she learned in these pursuits into her lesson plans to broaden her students’ awareness of the world with the diversity of cultures that abound
beyond their immediate communities. She demanded they read and write daily and though it was extremely time consuming, reviewed their writing nightly offering constructive feedback believing it was her obligation to guide them on their individual paths to fluency. Taking off several years to raise her family, she returned to active teaching at the Mid-Hudson Hebrew Day School teaching English and history and eventually taking on the role of administrator and principal as well. She became certified and credentialed in English as a Second Language (ESL) and for the last 18 years taught ESL in the Newburgh Enlarged City School District, retiring in 2009. She continued to tutor in the Homework Help after school program at the Newburgh Free Library until a week before she died. She further mentored and supervised student teachers from SUNY New Paltz in both English and ESL.
She served as president of the Schomre Israel Sisterhood and was very active in the Mid-Hudson Chapter of Hadassah holding offices as president, board member, bulletin designer, and generally doing whatever needed to be done. She was currently serving as recording secretary of Lower New York State Region of Hadassah. Passionately supportive of Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America, she is inscribed at Hadassah Medical Center’s Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem, Israel for her years of generous support.
She was predeceased by her parents, and she is survived by her husband Stephen at home; her sister Sidra Stich, PhD in San Francisco; sister Alda (Bo) Stich-Atkinson in Montville Center, Maine; daughter Jessica in New York City; son Joshua and his wife Rachel in Bryn Mawr, PA with granddaughters Caroline, Norah, and Eliza; and grand-dogs Jake and Stella.
Funeral services will take place at Congregation Schomre Israel, 18 Park Avenue Poughkeepsie, Sunday at 1:00pm with Rabbi Eliezer Langer officiating. Burial will follow at Schomre Israel Cemetery, LaGrange Avenue, Poughkeepsie. In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be directed to Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America, the Dyson Center for Cancer Care at Vassar Brothers Medical Center, Congregation Schomre Israel, or a charity of your choice.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Wm. G. Miller & Son FH, Inc., 371 Hooker Ave., Poughkeepsie, NY 12603. If you wish to send an online condolence please visit our website at www.wmgmillerfuneralhome.com