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Dr. Manfred "Fred" Katz

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Dr.  Manfred "Fred" Katz Obituary
Dr. Manfred "Fred" Katz

Wilmington - Age 89 of Wilmington, DE passed away on June 28, 2018 at Heartland Hospice, surrounded by his loving family.

Fred was born on February 16, 1929 in Jesberg, Germany, a small village in the southern province of Hessen, to Karl and Jettchen Katz. He was the youngest of 3 boys, and he greatly admired both of his older brothers, Walter and Max. Fred's early childhood in Germany was idyllic until 1933 when Hitler rose to power and instituted anti-Jewish laws that made life increasingly difficult and dangerous for Germany's Jewish citizens. Once it became abundantly evident that there was no future for Jews in Germany, his family attempted multiple escapes starting in 1936 to leave Germany but were denied visas until December 1938, when they successfully immigrated to the United States on sponsorship from Fred's Uncle Jake, who had left Germany in the late 1880s and became a prominent merchant in Stillwater, OK. (To read more about Fred's incredible early life in Germany, see

Fred grew up in Stillwater, where he helped run the family farm while finishing elementary school and high school. He was innately bright and a gifted student that excelled academically. He went on to attend Oklahoma State University (formerly Oklahoma A&M) in Stillwater, where he received his bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1950 and his master's degree in organic chemistry in 1951. He later received his PhD in organic chemistry in 1961. Upon graduating from Oklahoma State, he accepted a job as a research chemist for DuPont in Wilmington, DE. He worked for DuPont for 40 years at the Experimental Station in Wilmington, except for a 7-year transfer to Kinston, NC from 1967-1974. Fred was a brilliant and accomplished research scientist and had an illustrious career at DuPont, where he invented or contributed to the invention and commercialization of many successful polymer fibers. He held 16 patents and published many scientific journal articles.

Fred truly loved the United States and was honored to serve his adopted country during the Korean Conflict between March 1954 and December 1955. As a Specialist Third Class in the US Army he became a research scientist at the Ballistic Research Laboratory at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Aberdeen, MD.

In addition to his illustrious career, Fred was a devoted family man and together with Barbara delighted in raising four children. Later in life he particularly enjoyed all of his grandchildren. Fred was also a dedicated civic and religious lay leader and volunteer, spending countless hours serving Congregation Beth Emeth of Wilmington in numerous capacities over 67 years as a congregant. He also volunteered regularly for Jewish Family Services.

Fred passed away at Heartland Hospice surrounded by his loving wife and children after enduring a rapid decline from advanced prostate cancer. He will be remembered always as a devoted husband and father, a doting and loving grandfather, and a brilliant and accomplished scientific giant.

Fred is survived by his wife of 53 years, Barbara; his daughter, Anita Katz Peiser (Ross) of Memphis, TN; his sons, Carl (Leah) of Newton, MA and Daniel (Kim) of Freeland, MD; and his daughter-in-law Blythe (wife of his late beloved son, Harold) of Tulsa, OK. Fred was blessed with 11 grandchildren, including Ethan, Matthew, and Stephen (Harold and Blythe); Emma, Helena, Hershel, and Gavriel (Anita and Ross); Sophie (Carl and Leah); Olivia, Haylie, and Eva (Daniel and Kim); and 1 great-granddaughter, Mia (Matthew and Janelle).

Funeral services will be 11:00 am, Sunday, July 1, 2018 at Congregation Beth Emeth, 301 W. Lea Boulevard, Wilmington, DE 19802. Shiva will be observed 7:00 pm, Sunday, July 1 and Monday, July 2 at the late residence. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his honor to Congregation Beth Emeth, the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City, or Jewish Family Services of Wilmington, DE.

Published in The News Journal on June 30, 2018
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