Hanley Rubinsohn, 100, Pioneer Travel Executive


Rubinsohn lived a rich and colorful life that included encounters with gangster Al Capone and Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Hanley Rubinsohn, 100, of Abington, a travel industry icon and attorney, died Dec. 28.

During a long life of accomplishments, Rubinsohn traveled the world; met and spoke with gangster Al Capone and Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi; pioneered the travel industry; and was the patriarch of a Phil­adelphia family that ­includes six great-grandchildren, all of whom were there to see him turn 100 at a party held two months ago at the Philmont Country Club.

A native of West Philadelphia, Rubinsohn grew up in Center City. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and its School of Law.

In 1940, he wed Nina Marcus, to whom he was married for 68 years, until her death in 2009. They were partners in travel and business, visiting more than 100 countries.

In 1955, he purchased Bart­lett Travel, a business which dated back to 1880. Practicing law soon took a backseat to what he discovered was his true love — travel — and the Rubinsohns spent years guiding trips around the world.

Rubinsohn was a longtime board member of the Jewish Chaplaincy of the precursor to the Jewish Federation of Great­er Philadelphia, and he served as its president in the 1970s. The chaplaincy was a lay organization that trained and sent chaplains to hospitals and nursing homes throughout the metropolitan Philadelphia area.

Rubinsohn’s commitment to the community included leading Yom Kippur services at prisons such as Eastern State Penitentiary and Graterford Prison.

After selling Bartlett Travel, he started Rubinsohn Travel in 1992, in Elkins Park. His son, Bill, joined him there, along with his daughter, Amy. The elder Rubinsohn worked until two years ago, making him one of the longest-tenured continuously practicing travel agents in the world.

At his centennial party, Rubinsohn received special commendations from federal, state and local officials, including a letter signed by President Ba­rack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. He also received special accolades from the Abington Township Commissioners in separate ceremonies.

In addition to his daughter, Amy; his son, Bill; and great-grandchildren, Rubinsohn is survived by a son, John, and three grandchildren.


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