After Abraham and Amelia Katz died, their children almost all continued to live and work in the same places in Oklahoma for most of the rest of their lives. They were all in some way connected with the dry goods business.
Rachel and Morris Kohlmann continued to live in Bristow, Oklahoma, until at least 1935, but by 1940, they were living in Oklahoma City where Morris owned a shoe store. By April, 1942, however, when Morris registered for the World War II draft, he and Rachel were living back in Louisville, Kentucky, where they had met and where Morris now owned a business called Jewel Cleaning and Dyers. [Thank you to Janice Webster Brown of Cow Hampshire Blog for pointing out that it says Dyers, not Dryers!]
Morris died in Louisville five years later on April 10, 1947; he was 67 years old. His death certificate states that he was a shoe salesman at the time of his death.Rachel must have returned to Oklahoma after the death of her husband. She died in Sapulpa on January 8, 1953; she was seventy years old. Lester Katz, the oldest brother, had remained in Sapulpa where he was the owner and manager of the family department store there.
This wonderful photograph shows the five sons of Abraham and Amelia (Nahm) Katz probably sometime in the 1950s:
Lester died in Sapulpa on January 17, 1959; he was 73 years old. The Sapulpa Historical Society sent me a copy of his obituary, but it does not identify the paper in which it appeared. According to the obituary, Lester had had heart issues prior to his death. It reported that he had died from a heart attack and had been found by his brother M.J. (Milton) lying on the floor in the family’s store. The obituary also stated that Lester had been active in several civic organizations and that “he was perhaps as well known in this section as any local merchant.”Lester’s wife Mayme died almost seven years later on December 2, 1965. They were survived by their daughters.
Sidney and his brother Ben continued to run the Katz Department Store in Ada, Oklahoma, where they both lived.
Notice that Sidney listed Ben as the person who would always know his address, and Ben did the same on his draft registration:
The family described to me the special relationship between Ben and Sidney. They worried about each other and always looked out for each other’s best interests. When Sidney decided to retire, he tried to reduce the inventory in the store so it would cost Ben less to buy him out; Ben, worried that Sidney would not have enough to live on after selling his share, arranged for the inventory to be rebuilt so that he would have to pay Sidney more. That is a remarkable partnership and relationship—to put family before business and before your own interests.
Here is a photograph of Ben and his wife Sadie and their three children, Henry, Bryna, and Alfred, taken in about 1933:
The Katz Department Store in Ada during the 1940s on Rodeo Day:
Sidney and Ben and other unidentified people in the Ada Katz Department Store:
An advertisement for the Ada store published in the Ada Evening News on March 15, 1953:
Sidney Katz died in 1961. In another unlabeled obituary I received from the Sapulpa Historical Society, Sidney was described as “universally loved and respected on Main Street by his fellow businessmen and by the hundreds of people he knew in his long career here. He was a man of great energy. He liked people and gave constantly and unselfishly of his time to a host of civic and community projects.” The obituary also noted that he enjoyed golf. Sidney was survived by his wife Eulalia, who died in 1972.
Ben died just five years after his brother Sidney on March 25, 1966. He was 73 years old and was survived by his wife Sadie and their three children. His obituary appeared on the first page of the Ada Weekly News of March 25, 1966:
His wife Sadie died in 1983; she was 86. Here is a photograph of Ben and Sadie with their granddaughter Marsha.
After Ben died, his two sons Alfred and Henry took over the Ada store, which they ran until 2004 when they retired. Following are photographs of the store in Ada:
The family lost two siblings in 1972. In July, Blanche died in a nursing home in Sapulpa; she was 89 years old and, as far as I can tell, had never worked outside the home or married. Six months later on December 27, 1972, Florence Katz Frisch died in Sapulpa. Her husband Sol Frisch had died in 1943; they had been living in Stillwater, Oklahoma at that time, but sometime after Sol’s death, Florence returned to Sapulpa. Florence had also been predeceased by her only child, Sara Jean Frisch Looney, who died on August 19, 1966, at age 44 from a brain tumor.Milton Katz, who was known as Mickey, had returned to Sapulpa in 1944 after spending some time in the east in the construction business, according to a 1973 profile of him in the Sapulpa newspaper. When he returned, he joined his brother Lester in the Sapulpa store. Milton married Ruth Billingslea on February 24, 1951, in Benton, Arkansas. Ruth was a widow when she married Milton; she was 48, and he was 49. Ruth was born in Oklahoma and had been living in Chickasha, the town where Milton’s sister Henrietta lived. Milton and Ruth lived in Sapulpa where, according to Ruth’s obituary in the Sapulpa Herald of Friday, July 9, 2004, she assisted Milton in the Katz Department Store
According to the 1973 article (for which I unfortunately do not have a full citation), Mickey was quite a character, especially in his youth. The article described how he had purchased rain insurance for a Sapulpa high school football game and collected when it rained .3 inches; then he had managed to get the game played anyway by having the field burnt and purchasing cleats for the players.
Milton “Mickey” Katz died in Sapulpa in April 1983 when he was 81 years old; according to his obituary (another unlabeled one I received from the Sapulpa Historical Society), he had served as president of the Chamber of Commerce, the Jaycees, and the Kiwanis Club and as chairman of the Sapulpa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission and of Sapulpa Flood Control. His wife Ruth survived him by 21 years. She died in 2004 when she was 101 years old.
The last two surviving siblings, Henrietta and Sigmund, both lived long lives. Henrietta and her husband Ben Levine had remained in Chickasha, Oklahoma. Ben died in Chickasha on January 2, 1960 at age 71. Henrietta remained in Chickasha, where she died 28 years later in June, 1988, at age 93; she was survived by her three children. Ben is buried between Henrietta, his second wife, and her older sister Bertha, his first wife.
Sigmund was then the last living child of Abraham and Amelia Katz, but he only survived Henrietta by eight months. He died on February 24, 1989. Sigmund and his wife Elizabeth had remained in Bristow, Oklahoma, until at least 1942. In 1940, Sigmund was still working as a merchant, but on his World War II draft registration in 1942, he reported that he was not employed.
According to his obituary in the Sapulpa Herald of February 26, 1989, “Mr. Katz worked at the Bristow store from 1922-1941 then associated with the Oklahoma State Employment Service. He resided in Sapulpa from 1952 until 1985, when he moved to Tulsa.” Sigmund died in Tulsa on February 24, 1989; he was 92 years old. Elizabeth lived another three years, dying in Tulsa on April 8, 1992; she was 93. They were survived by their two daughters.
Together, Abraham and Amelia Katz had ten children, eleven grandchildren, and a large number of great and great-great-grandchildren, a number of whom still live in Oklahoma while others are spread throughout the United States. And I am so fortunate to have been able to find and connect with a number of them. I am particularly grateful to my cousins Marsha and Henry for generously sharing the photographs and allowing me to share them with you.