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Martin F. Kaplan


1940 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Martin F. Kaplan Obituary
Martin F. Kaplan

Oxnard, CA

Martin F. Kaplan, 77, of Oxnard, passed away on October 5, 2017, in the comfort of his home, surrounded by his family. Born on April 20, 1940 in Brooklyn to Ben Kaplan, a truck driver, and Bebe Wolinsky Kaplan, a housewife, he married Lydia Martha Eagle, his truest friend and confidante, on July 9, 1960.

Based on NY tests, Marty was placed in a Rapid Advancement class, completing his three years of junior high school in two. He went on to Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn, graduating two months after his 16th birthday. He entered Bernard Baruch University, graduating with his BBA in 1960, his MS from CCNY in 1962, and his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in 1965, shortly after his 25th birthday.

He adored his children Jonathan (Yolanda), Jeremy (Debbie), and Jaymie, and his grandsons Donald and Steven were the loves of his life. He was proud and grateful for his children's values, character, and other qualities they learned from him, e.g., their sense of humor, justice, and decency. As for any troublesome qualities they adopted, he apologizes.

As a Professor at Northern Illinois University in De Kalb, he founded the Social Psychology Ph.D. program, directed the research of over 20 doctoral studies, and was named both Presidential Research Professor and Distinguished Research Professor. His graduate students admired, respected, and were very fond of him, as were the Fulbright students who came from overseas to work with him.

His research in Social Psychology produced over 120 published articles, the majority in referred journals. From 1965-2010, he wrote seven books as well as numerous book chapters. Research topics included how people form judgments of others, how groups (including juries) make decisions, how the effects of biases can be reduced, and how people influence one another. He was invited on many occasions to lecture on his jury research at the University of La Laguna in Tenerife, Canary Islands.

International recognition led to election as a Fellow in the American Psychological Association, the American Psychology-Law Society, the Society of Experimental Social Psychology, the European Association of Experimental Social Psychologists, and the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. He was an invited Visiting Professor at University of California San Diego, University of California Santa Barbara, University of North Carolina, Leiden University (Netherlands), University of Melbourne (Australia), and Monash University (Australia). He was also invited to lecture at many universities and scientific meetings in North America, Europe, and Australia. One night, while attending a conference in Poland at the height of the Solidarity movement, Marty found himself as a passenger in a speeding car fleeing state police.

After retirement from NIU in 2000 he moved to Oxnard, California, where he founded the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at CSU Channel Islands. When the economy declined, it was decided that student fees would go up. Marty refused and opted to take a decrease in his part-time salary so that fees would remain the same. Due to his hard work, and his dedication to the students, by the time of his retirement as Director in January 2012 OLLI had grown to over 500 student-members. He was recognized nationally for the quality of courses offered.

Always the "professor," he loved to share his knowledge of broad interests- history, film, musicals, classical music, popular standards and folk music, and a host of other topics- and frequently with a dry, quick, off-kilter sense of humor borrowed from Groucho Marx.

Active in community affairs, especially those related to seniors, he actively served on the Boards of the New West Symphony, Caregivers, Ventura County Area Agency on Aging, and the Oxnard Music Advocacy Group. His work with the Symphony notably included deepening its educational functions, community engagement, and attracting more concert goers. His mission during his academic career was to enhance the power of rational thought, analysis and accumulated knowledge in those he taught. His mission in retirement was to preserve and share the artistic accomplishments of humankind and bring music to the community.

Marty's personal endeavors included criss-crossing the US in a van with Lydia and the kids in search of great BBQ and the perfect bluegrass festival, collecting antique rifles dating back to 1763, and family camping trips. His love of travel led him and Lydia to nearly 40 countries, including China, Thailand, Russia, Croatia, Israel, Spain, Argentina, Portugal and Vietnam.

His family would like to thank UCLA Health doctors May-Lin Wilgus and Joshua Rosenberg as well as Dr. Rosenberg's caring staff of Priscilla, Theresa, Ava, Samantha, Monique, and Brianna, for treating Marty with respect and compassion, as well as friends Guadalupe and Juan Limones and family, and Gail and John Ota for their support.

A funeral service will be held at 12:30 pm on Monday, October 9 at Temple Beth Torah in Ventura. Marty requested that memorial donations be made in his name to either the New West Symphony (Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, 2100 Thousand Oaks Blvd., Suite D, Thousand Oaks, CA 91362) or Caregivers (1765 Goodyear Avenue #205 Ventura, CA 93003).

Arrangements are under the direction of the Ted Mayr Funeral Home, 3150 Loma Vista Road, Ventura. Condolences may be sent to TedMayrFuneralHome.com.
Published in Ventura County Star from Oct. 7 to Oct. 8, 2017
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