As I wrote in my last post, as of 1940 my great-great uncle Jacob Katzenstein’s second family was still centered in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Although his daughter Helen was living in New Rochelle, New York with her husband John A. Rodgers, a career Army officer, and their three children, and his son Maurice and his wife Grace were living in Michigan, Jacob’s widow Bertha and their other four children (who were all in or close to their forties by then)—Gerald, Eva, Leo, and Perry—were all still in Johnstown. Gerald, Eva, and Leo were unmarried and living with their mother Bertha. Perry was married and had two children; he and his wife lost their almost-four month old daughter Judith in March 1940.
Then on November 10, 1940, Helen Katzenstein Rodgers died; she was only 48 years old and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery where her husband John would later be buried. I could not find an obituary or a death record for Helen. She was survived by her husband and three daughters as well as her mother and five siblings.The only Katzenstein brother for whom I found a World War II draft registration was Gerald because the online databases only include the cards for the so-called Old Man’s Draft, i.e., for those born between April 28, 1877 and February 16, 1897. Leo, Maurice, and Perry were all born after February 16, 1897, and so are not in the database. Gerald’s card shows that he was working at Lee’s Clothing and that he was living at 221 Haynes Street where his mother, his emergency contact, also resided. Also, the draft card states that Gerald was missing the first joint on the index finger of his right hand.
On February 12, 1943, Bertha Miller Katzenstein died from a coronary occlusion and generalized arteriosclerosis; she was 75 years old. She was survived by her remaining five children and was buried with her husband Jacob at Grandview cemetery in Johnstown. She had outlived him by 27 years.
Sometime after 1942 when he registered as single for the draft, Gerald Katzenstein married Florence Mae Lint. Gerald would have been in his early fifties; Florence, who was born in 1902, would have been in her forties. Florence was, like Gerald, a native of Johnstown, the daughter of Joseph Lint, who worked as a brakeman in a steel mill, and Eva Ann Thomas, another Johnstown native. Eva Ann Thomas Lint died in 1938, and in 1940 Florence and her father were living with Florence’s sister Gussie Henton and her husband. Florence was a milliner working in a retail hat store called Keyser-Lint Hats, a business in which she presumably had a partial ownership.
Gerald and Florence must have married by 1945 because Florence is listed in the Johnstown directory of that year as the wife of Gerald Katzenstein; she was still working at Keyser-Lint Hats. Her father died March 21, 1945, and Gerald’s mother had died two years before. Had Florence and Gerald waited until their parents were gone to marry? Gerald was now working as a division manager for Sears, Roebuck and Company.Leo Katzenstein was living with Gerald and Florence at 303 Franklin Ave in 1945, and he was working as the manager of P & Q Clothes. Eva Katzenstein continued to work as a bank teller and also continued to live at 221 Haynes Street where her mother and brothers had once lived. The youngest sibling Perry continued to do advertising sales for the Johnstown Tribune and lived with his wife and family on Vickroy Avenue. Two years later in 1947, the only change in the listings for any of the Katzenstein siblings was that Leo was now living with Eva at 221 Haynes instead of with Gerald and Florence.
Maurice, the only surviving sibling not living in Johnstown, worked as an electrician for Nash Kelvinator at their defense plant in Lansing, Michigan from 1942 until 1945, and then in 1946 he became a design engineer for the State Highway Department in Lansing, where he lived with his wife Grace. “Highway Design Engineer Retires After 20 Years,” Lansing State Journal (March 3, 1966, p. 11).
Two years later, Grace died on Christmas Day, 1948; she was 49 years old. She was buried in Mount Hope cemetery in Lansing, Michigan. She had been married to Maurice for only ten years when she died.
Seven months later, Maurice remarried. On July 20, 1949, he married Sara Bailey in Angola, Indiana. Maurice must have gone home to Johnstown to court Sara because she was born in Johnstown and was living there when they married. She was a school teacher, like Grace had been, and she was the daughter of William Bailey, a plumber, and Harriet Carthew, both of whom were also Johnstown natives.The Johnstown directory for 1949 shows little change for the Katzenstein siblings living there. Lee was now working for Glosser Brothers, another clothing store, and living with Eva at 221 Haynes; Eva was still a bank teller. Gerald had no occupation listed, but his wife Florence was still listed as working at Keyser-Lint Hats; they were still living at 303 Franklin. Perry was still an advertising solicitor for the Johnstown Tribune, living with his family on Vickroy Avenue. The 1950s brought two major developments. Sometime after 1953 and before 1957, Leo Katzenstein moved from Johnstown to Miami, Florida, and married for the first time; he was in his mid-fifties. He married Mary Driscoll, who, although born in Kentucky, had spent most of her childhood in Johnstown. She had been previously married to Henry Rossman Smith, a Johnstown native, who had died in 1951. She had three grown children from her first marriage. I inferred the date range of her marriage to Lee based on the fact that he is last listed in Johnstown in 1953 without a wife’s name and first appears in Miami with Mary as his wife in 1957. In 1957, Lee (as he is listed there) was working as a branch manager for Wells, which I assume, given his past experience, was a clothing store.
Thus, as of the mid-1950s, only three of the Katzenstein siblings remained in Johnstown: Eva, who continued to work at the bank; Gerald, who is once again listed as a division manager for Sears; and Perry, who still worked for the Johnstown Tribune.
Gerald Katzenstein died on November 9, 1957; he was 64 and had suffered from coronary artery disease for a year before his death from a heart attack. He was buried at Richland cemetery in Geisland, a town near Johnstown; he was survived by his wife Florence, who was buried beside him when she died in 1991. Gerald and Florence had no descendants.
As the 1960s began, the status of remaining two Johnstown Katzenstein siblings was much the same as it had been: Eva was still a bank teller and Perry was still an advertising solicitor for the Johnstown Tribune. One of his sons was also working in advertising in Johnstown. Lee Katzenstein and his wife Mary were still living in Miami, where Lee was now a salesman at the Golden Gate Men’s Shop.
Maurice Katzenstein retired from the Michigan State Highway Department in March, 1966, as reported in this article from the Lansing State Journal of March 3, 1966 (p. 11):
Perry Katzenstein, the youngest sibling and the first to marry, was the third sibling to die; he died on February 28, 1972. He was 67 years old and was survived by his wife Helene and their four children. He was buried at Grandview cemetery in Johnstown, where his infant daughter Judith had been buried 32 years before and where his wife Helene would also be buried in 1986, when she died.
That left only Eva, Leo/Lee, and Maurice, all of whom lived into their eighties. Lee died on November 15, 1979, in Miami; he was eighty, and his wife Mary had died the year before. I don’t know where they are buried.
Eva died at age 92 on April 22, 1987, in Johnstown, and is buried with her other family members in Grandview cemetery. She had never married, but family lore is that she was in a long term relationship with a local man, according to research done by David Baron.
Maurice died on May 20, 1990, when he was 89. He was buried in Miami; his second wife Sara died in 2003.
When I look back on the lives of Jacob Katzenstein’s second family, I am struck by a number of things. One, it is striking how many of his children not only lived in Johnstown for most of their lives, but married people from Johnstown; Helen, Gerald, Lee, Maurice (his second wife) and Perry all married people from Johnstown. It also appears that not one of the siblings married someone Jewish, except for Maurice’s first wife Grace.
Second, out of six children, only two have descendants. Gerald, Lee, and Maurice married relatively late in life and did not have children; Eva never married. Thus, of the six siblings, only Helen and Perry had children and thus any living descendants.
Finally, all the siblings except Maurice had remarkably consistent jobs throughout their adult lives. Eva started her career as a bank teller and stayed in that job for over forty years. Gerald and Lee worked in the clothing business all their lives, following in the footsteps of their father Jacob. Perry started and ended his career selling advertising for the local newspaper. Only Maurice moved around a lot—not only from place to place, but also from job to job. But he outlived all his siblings, so perhaps that was a healthy thing.
Overall, there is a consistency to the lives of most of the children of Jacob and Bertha (Miller) Katzenstein—in their careers, their personal lives, and their choice of staying in Johnstown for at least a substantial part of their lives.