Photo Credit: Handout
Robert Kaplan, an obstetrician and gynecologist from Smithtown who delivered thousands of babies, died Jan. 17.
Kaplan, an Air Force veteran, died about a week after he had a stroke at his nursing home in Rockville, Md. He was 80.
Born on Oct. 3, 1933, in the Bronx, Kaplan moved with his family to Long Island when he was 10. He worked as a short-order cook as a teenager at the luncheonette in his family's pharmacy. He graduated from Patchogue High School in 1951 and then attended Johns Hopkins University.
After two years there, Kaplan was accepted at the medical school at the University of the State of New York at Syracuse. He graduated and was married the same day, on June 9, 1957.
Kaplan and his wife, Edith, moved to Long Island, where he completed his internship and residency at Meadowbrook Hospital, now called Nassau University Medical Center.
A few years later, the couple moved to Texas, where Kaplan served as a captain in the Air Force. He worked as an obstetrician and gynecologist at a Texas base.
"He was a very honorable man and a very beloved physician," Edith Kaplan recalled. "His peers . . . feel that he was an amazing surgeon, with a great sense of humor."
After two years in Texas, the Kaplans returned to Long Island in the 1960s, eventually settling in Smithtown, where Kaplan opened his private practice.
Kaplan was a fellow in the American College of Surgeons and also was honored by the New York Medical Society, commemorating 50 years of practice. He also specialized in infertility and cancer treatments.
"Women were constantly throwing their arms around my father in restaurants, thanking him for his care," said his daughter Lisa Friedman of Washington, D.C.
When not practicing medicine, Kaplan enjoyed working with his hands. He built microwave ovens and radios, and even a sports car from a kit. He earned his private pilot's license in 1973.
He also enjoyed the outdoors and was an avid boater and tennis player. But there was nothing he loved more than spending time with his family, his wife said.
"He was a loving father and a very loving, interactive grandfather to his four grandchildren," Edith Kaplan said.
In addition to his wife and daughter Lisa, he is survived by daughters Debra Antsis of Medford and Amy Pincus of Huntington.
Kaplan's services and burial were held Jan. 20 at Washington Memorial Park in Mount Sinai.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind in Smithtown.