Liberty Travel Co-Founder Gilbert Haroche Dies at 87
Photo of Gilbert Haroche and wife Charlene via Liberty Travel
Gilbert Haroche, co-founder of Liberty Travel, died of cancer on April 23 at age 87 at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. Haroche and the late Fred Kassner, New York University classmates, co-founded New York-based Liberty Travel in 1951. They initially focused on travel to the Catskills and Miami.
Haroche and Kassner are considered to be originators of the packaged vacation. They expanded the number of Liberty Travel locations and Haroche became responsible for the retail side of the business, with more than 200 agencies, while Kassner, who died in 1998, oversaw the GOGO wholesale business, which sold packages to other travel agencies. GOGO expanded by offering travel to Mexico, the Caribbean, Hawaii, Europe and other destinations.
Both Liberty and GOGO were divisions of LibGo Travel, one of the giant retail and wholesale operations in the travel business, headquartered in Ramsay, N.J. In 2008, Flight Centre Ltd., the largest travel company in Australia, acquired LibGo for $135 million.
Haroche is survived by his wife Charlene; two sons Andre and Maurice; a daughter Marcella, and two children from a previous marriage, Bob and Kim, and 10 grandchildren. A memorial service was held on April 23 at Riverside Chapel in New York City.
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