We are here today to mourn the passing but also to honor and cherish the life of Harold “Sonny” Katz. Sonny was a beloved father, grandfather and great-grandfather and a cherished friend.
He was born here in New Haven on February 21,1928, so he was 91. He was the son of Arthur and Mollie Katz and the brother of Bernard, Harriett, and Shirley who we remember with affection and respect today. He became a Bar Mitzvah in March, 1941. He proudly served in the US Navy in World War ll. His career was in roofing and sheet metal with Premier Roofing. It says a lot about Sonny that he was with one company for his entire career.
Even when he retired, they would ask him to go and bid jobs. He was a hard worker and every loyal, efficient and honest.
Sonny knew Doris from when they were kids, from Woodmont and traveling in the same circles. They got married on November 28, 1948. It was a long and wonderful marriage for almost 60 years. Doris and Sonny enjoyed life. They were dancing partners; they loved to dance. Sonny and Doris enjoyed Long Wharf with close friends. They traveled a lot. There were trips to Vermont and Florida, California and Cape Cod. They traveled to Italy, China, Thailand, Germany, Israel, France, England, Austria, Hawaii and the Bahamas.
He was the proud and loving father of Mark and Ellen. He worked every day and he came home and they had dinner together every night as a family.
As a father, he was strong and firm; he had rules that they had to live by. He made them toe the line.
Doris would warn the kids: “Just wait till your father gets home.” And of course he backed her up in everything and he always listened to her.
But he had a great personality as a father and he and Doris made a wonderful life for the family.
Sonny and Doris raised Mark and Ellen with love and caring and attention. They lived from 1958 in their house at 106 Fallon Drive in Hamden till after Doris passed away. Their house was the house for their friends; the rec room was the scene for friends and parties.
There are so many beautiful memories. Passover in the living room on Fallon Drive, picnics in the yard or at the relatives or at Paradise Park Swim Club. Sunday was family day with Uncle Lester or Aunt Bea.
Sonny and Doris were long time active members of our shul, Temple Beth Sholom. They became members in 1964, around 56 years. Religious education was very important to Sonny. Sonny even sang in the choir.
He was proud of Mark and Ellen and then of their marriages to Mary and George. He was very, very proud of his family. For Sony, family was family and he didn’t make any distinctions between a child and an in-law or a grandchild or one of their spouses. Monday night dinner was with Mary and Mark and the kids. He loved Mark and Mary, Ellen and George.
He loved and took great pride and joy in his grandchildren Mark and Nicole. Jamie and Mark, Jason and Karen, Michelle and Matt, and he adored his 7 great grandchildren. He was so proud of the kids; he was always proud of his kid’s accomplishments. He did whatever he could for his grandchildren. He went to see hockey or figure-skating. He would travel to see them.
So who was Sonny Katz? He was an open, wonderful family person. Life will be strange without him. But this is a good and a close family and you will be there for each other.
I want to say something personal. Over the years, no one was friendlier or more respectful to me than Sonny Katz. And in these last years when I would see him a lot at the Towers, and I saw him progressively declining, he would still always come up to me and smile and shake my hand. As his memory receded, and he could not exactly say “Hi Rabbi,” he would try; he would know me without being able to articulate anything. And when I would give talks at the towers, and I would tell jokes, he would always laugh with everyone else, and sometimes he would come up to me afterwards and just say, “That was a good one.” Now I want to say about Sonny Katz: He was a good one.
To Mark and Ellen and the whole family, we have one simple statement: He loved each of you very much and you loved him very much. We’re sorry that he’s gone but we’re happy and thankful to G-d that he lived. He was a righteous man. May he rest in peace. Let us say Amen.