Milton Kutsher - In Memoriam
Milton Kutsher died on November 16, 1998. What evidence does it take to accept that he was a genius? Is the simple fact of the vibrancy of Kutsher's Country Club in the current climate of Sullivan County sufficient evidence? If not, there is much more.
Milton Kutsher was President of the Hotelmen's Association, Chairman of the Board of Monticello Raceway, a Director of Key Bank, the Trust Co. of New Jersey, Chairman of the Publicity Commission of Sullivan County, a Trustee of the National Basketball Hall of Fame, inducted into the NYC Basketball Hall of Fame, a founder of the Maurice Stokes Memorial Fund Foundation, and a member of the University of Pennsylvania's Benjamin Franklin Society. In addition to Kutsher's, he and wife, Helen, operated Camp Anawana and Kutsher's Sports Academy. That is enough evidence to show that he achieved success to a remarkable degree.
Born and raised in his beloved Catskills, Milton assumed direction of Kutsher's when he returned from service in WWII. He was one of only a few hoteliers at that time to recognize the enormous impact that air-conditioning and suburban living were to have on the Catskill resorts. He constructed luxurious rooms, spacious public areas and superb recreational facilities. He built a relationship with prominent professional sports figures such as Red Auerbach, Ezzard Charles and Floyd Patterson. He welcomed sports writers like Gene Roswell, Ike Gellis, Leonard Lewin and editors such as Paul Sann. He had a knack for getting entertainment his guests enjoyed, including Jerry Seinfeld, Allan King, Vic Damone, Tony Bennett, Jackie Mason and Neil Sedaka. More tribute to his genius, which took his resort from a modest capacity of 250 in 1950 to about 1000 at the present time.
I think he was unique in his treatment of staff. My own relationship with Kutsher's is now in its 50th year and there are others who have been happy employees for upwards of a quarter century. Some who became disabled or ill were invited to remain and live at the Hotel for as long as they wished, some for the rest of their lives.
It is evident that Milton Kutsher lived a full, productive and happy life. He was blessed with a wonderful wife, and a loving and growing family from which he derived much naches. He enjoyed the respect of colleagues and friends. Well deserved honors were given to him because of his professional and philanthropic activities.
In short, Milton Kutsher was a family man, a hotel man, and a mentsch. His passing is a loss for all of us, but our memories of him include a large share of the joy he spread as he lived his remarkable life.
Jack has worked at Kutsher's Country Club for 50 years in various capacities from activites director to athletic director to the master of ceremonies at the night club. Currently he publishes the KCC newsletter Kutsher's Kapers, teaches folk dancing, and lectures on current events.