Larkin was “my hero,” says philanthropist

The late SUNY Orange President Dr. William Richards, (left), chats in this undated photo with Senator William Larkin (center) and William Kaplan

NEWBURGH – If you dropped in at the Newburgh Armory Unity Center this year, more often than not you would see philanthropist William Kaplan and retired State Senator William Larkin hanging out together.

“Bill Larkin was my hero,” Kaplan said of his friend’s passing.

“We were partners in many different programs and I was in awe in the way he conducted himself. Anytime anybody needed something or came to him, he would pick up the phone and accomplish it. He took care of everything immediately for all of his constituents,” Kaplan said.

The “most defining moment” in the former senator’s career, Kaplan believes, was the purchase of the old National Guard Armory from the state for $1. “Over 10 years we have seen this grow into a safe, secure center for learning and community service for the children and parents of Newburgh,” Kaplan said. “This most important legacy will live on in the success and prosperity of those children as they reap the benefits and use the knowledge they learned during their time as students at the Unity Center.”

In honor of the commitment of the senator, the Pat and Bill Larkin Education Center at the armory was named for the senator and Mrs. Larkin.

“I will miss my friend Bill Larkin but I will see the joy in his face each time I see another smiling child walk through the doors of the Newburgh Armory Unity Center,” Kaplan said.

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