November 26, 1931 - October 3, 2019SERVICE INFORMATION
Monday, October 7, 2019 at 10:00 AM
Chicago Jewish Funerals
8851 Skokie Boulevard
Skokie, Illinois 60077
Rabbi Alison Abrams
7801 West Montrose Avenue
Norridge, Illinois 60706
Bryn Mawr Country Club
6600 North Crawford Avenue
Lincolnwood, Illinois 60712
Immediately following the interment service
Women's Business Development Center
8 South Michigan Avenue, 4th Floor
Chicago, Illinois 60603
This is a bittersweet time as we announce the passing of our beloved Mort. His legacy of love and caring is never ending nor forgotten by all who knew him. An extraordinary husband who wanted nothing more than to share his life with his wife, Hedy Ratner, Mort was a much-loved father to three remarkable daughters, Robin Kaplan (Roger Kerson), Micki Kaplan (Bob Stallard) and Naomi (Yisroael) Kramer, and adored by grandchildren Sarah and Astrid Kerson, Tzvi, Hillel, Uriel Kramer and Elias stallard. Mort, son of Mabel (Schack) and Charles Kaplan, was born November 26, 1931. Brother of Robert (Linda), Mort was the much loved uncle of Lisa, Wendy, and Andy (Karen) Kaplan, Tracy (Chris) Farrell, David Rosenfield. He will be missed by Carylynn Green, mother of his children, countless cousins and legions of friends. Mort had an enduring love for cousin, Marian Loeb, with whom he grew up more as brother and sister than cousins.
To know Mort was easy. To love him was easier. This great and good man had virtues sought by many, achieved by few. He was gifted with the ability to easily relate to people, enjoy their differences, and participate in the lives of others as though their concerns and issues were his own. Mort never lost faith in the ideas and ideals of goodness, fair play, equality and social justice. His devotion to those ideals never wavered. A native Chicagoan, his love for this city, its complexities, people and roughhewn history was as well-known as his feelings for all things Cubs and Bears.
It was inevitable that his love of people and fierce opinions about the social and political world would lead him to a long and widely acclaimed career in the tumultuous world of public affairs and public relations, where he built a large and successful firm, Morton H. Kaplan and Associates. He was proudest of the many he hired, mentored, and sent on their way, some to great success. His firm strengthened the brand and reputation of both fortune 500 companies and non-profit organizations. He created the Leader Luncheon for the YWCA, which became the most successful and significant fundraising event for YWCAs nationwide.
Mort, ever the progressive, was asked to counsel people with "the right stuff." Such was the case in his work with Senator John Glenn, then considering a run for president. The list of those he counseled reads like a who's who of American political life in that era. He was on the campaign trail with senators Paul Douglas, Alan Dixon and Paul Simon; Congressman Abner Mikva, later a respected judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals. Mort led a group of political strategists to create and implement the successful gubernatorial campaign of Dan Walker. Mort's filter was always about the character of the people with whom he'd work. He had the rare ability to reduce complex issues to a level of simplicity not often seen in the political arena. That ability was important to the many successful campaigns he led.
The rough and tumble political world wasn't enough for him. His never ending love for the creative world of the arts led him to found and chair The Illinois Arts Alliance. He led the scions of the art, music and dance world to increase support for the arts in Illinois and nationally. He also served on the board of directors of Steppenwolf Theatre. His passions were eclectic. He loved opera, ballet, the symphony, jazz, music of the Broadway stage, baseball, basketball, football and especially golf, plus just hanging out with friends and family. Mort sold his successful business and went into a retirement that lasted but a few days. He was bursting with energy and eager to share his vast knowledge with others. He signed on to teach at Columbia College, founded and chaired their Department of Public Affairs. Mort stayed at Columbia more than twenty years, was a professor, and when he retired, was honored by being named professor emeritus.
Mort and his beloved Hedy had a remarkable relationship that spanned more than four decades. To all who knew them, it was a bit like reading a tale of a love that endured through all of life's trials and tribulations. Their devotion to each other was, and will always remain, beautiful and complete. In all its wonder, all its adventure and all its love, Mort and Hedy took all who knew and love them along on their magic carpet ride. Their love didn?t just endure, it was strengthened by the challenges of life. For that we are grateful. Mort and Hedy were inseparable (except when he was on the golf course or cheering for the Cubs or Bears).
Services will be held at Chicago Jewish Funerals, 8851 N. Skokie Blvd, Skokie, 10 a.m. Monday, burial at Westlawn Cemetery, Norridge, IL, following the chapel service. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Mort's memory to the Women's Business Development Center, 8 South Michigan Avenue, 4th floor, Chicago, IL 60603 www.wbdc.org would be appreciated. Arrangements by Chicago Jewish Funerals - Skokie Chapel, 847.229.8822 www.cjfinfo.com