RAMSEY, N.J.--Fred Kassner, who cofounded Liberty Travel and Gogo
Worldwide Vacations, died Oct. 6 at Memorial Sloan-Kettering
Hospital in New York. He was 71.
Kassner founded the agency Liberty Travel in 1951 with fellow
New York University classmate Gilbert Haroche, and the two later
launched the wholesale company Gogo Worldwide Vacations, a pioneer
in the packaged-travel industry.
At the time of his death, Kassner was president of Gogo and
chairman of Liberty Travel. He also owned Regal Cruises and two
hotels--the Nevele Grand in Ellenville, N.Y., and the Renaissance
Jamaica Grande in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. There was no immediate word
on his successor at Liberty and Gogo.
Liberty Travel is the seventh-largest travel agency in the U.S.,
according to the Travel Weekly's 1998 Travel Agency Survey, with
$1.3 billion in sales and 200 locations in eight northeastern
states and in Florida.
Gogo Worldwide Vacations, one of the nation's largest tour
operators and a powerful force in the Caribbean market, operates 88
offices nationwide and also offers packages to Mexico, Hawaii,
mainland U.S. and Europe. In 1996, Gogo reported sales of $1.1
In a biography issued by his company, Kassner sought to be
remembered for "his commitment to providing the best travel value
to people of all backgrounds and income levels."
Fresh from college, he and Haroche started Liberty Travel by
specializing in the Catskills resort area of New York state and
Miami. But he and Haroche wanted to bring travel--a concept then
thought feasible only for the wealthy--to the masses through
value-priced packages. In the late 1950s, Liberty Travel created a
sister company, Keystone Tours, to act as a wholesaler. Later, the
name was changed to Gogo Tours. In recent years, it was changed to
Gogo Worldwide Vacations to reflect the expanding destination
inventory of the company.
Kassner is survived by his wife, Gerda; two daughters, Michelle
Kassner, senior vice president of Gogo, and Ellen Teitelbaum; a
sister; a brother and three grandchildren. Details about memorial
services were pending. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to
the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center or another charity.