Following are some thoughts I posted as a note to my Facebook page. I hope you don't mind and know you know the stories but for others who may visit these pages.
A Sad Dayby Leland Katz on Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 12:57pm
Yesterday, October 4th was a sad day as the world said goodbye to a good man who truly lived up to the Jewish imperative to do everything you can to make this world a better place than it would have been had you not been in it. On a more selfish level, Judy and I lost a good friend whom we had known for over 49 years. We met Dr. Kenneth E. Blotber (Kenny to us) when he and his Phyllis and we were on our way to Bermuda to celebrate our mutual honeymoons having both been married on July 30, 1961. Since then, it was the rare year when one or the other of us was too far from home for us not to celebrate our mutual wedding anniversaries together.
As I returned from Europe at the end of my military service, Kenny was just finishing medical school and as I struggled with more or (occasionally) less success with a career in high tech marketing and sales, Kenny fell naturally and with grace into what he was meant to do -- bring life into this world. The obituary says he was a "prominent physician." That is not the half of the story. Kenny was a mensch in the finest Yiddish sense of that German word that translates literally into "human." In Yiddish, a mensh is a person with whom you would be happy to befriend and associate with, because you feel genuine in a mensch's presence. That was Kenny Blotner.
Once, Kenny came home with a new but not ostentatious Buick. My Judy asked him why, saying he could afford any car he wanted. Kenny's answer was telling. "My dear," he said, "being rich is being able to afford whatever you want and then buying what you want." Kenny didn't need an "important" and expensive car to validate himself or impress the world around him. He always knew who he was and, while being an OBGYN doc was an important pat of that, being a husband, father and grandfather was always also an important part of who he was. I cannot count the number of anniversary celebratory meals at a restaurant when Kenny had the appetizer, left to deliver a baby and returned just in time for desert. Someone said he delivered around 5,000 babies. More importantly, he helped women and couples who wanted a family and had difficulty through those difficulties and made their families possible for them.
When our son was married five years ago and other of our friends could not come to New York for the wedding, Kenny and Phyllis were there. When I returned from the hospital after my back surgery last year, Kenny and Phyllis were the first to show up with food and good conversation.
Kenny would have loved his funeral procession. A hundred cars long, it included four State Police on motorcycles leap-frogging each other to stop cross traffic and/or highway entrance traffic from breaking into the procession. It would have appealed to his wonderfully dry sense of humor.
Kenny, we will miss you and we hope that with time the sadness we feel will fade. But the memories will always remain. And the memories are good.