Leon Katz

Obituary
  • "The world grows smaller with the loss of Leon. He was a..."
    - Donald Eisen
  • "Dear Jane, Paul, Elaine, June and families, I just found..."
    - Carol Orito
  • "Leon Katz gave us a blueprint for life. He was an academic..."
    - Nelda Latham
  • "Dear Jane and the Katz family, My sincere condolences to..."
    - Lee Corey
  • "Coach Katz will be missed by many. My deepest sympathies to..."
    - Fran Hare

Professor Emeritus Leon Katz, age 94, passed away on Jan 2, 2015. Professor Katz was the beloved husband for 55 years of the late Dorothea Katz and the son of professional musicians Israel Katz and Ida Elkan Katz. Born in New York City on November 17, 1920, he grew up in Detroit where his father was first violin with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. The family returned to New York in 1930.
At 13, after a near drowning experience, young Leon was taught and mentored by a champion swimmer; Katz went on to both study at and swim for Stuyvesant High School and The City College of New York.
Katz worked as an engineer at the Westinghouse Company before he served in the Merchant Marines during WW II. He joined the CCNY Electrical Engineering faculty in 1949, and in 1960 became a founding faculty member of the Electrical Technology department at Queensborough Community College (QCC). A highly regarded electrical engineer with expertise in power systems and radio technologies, he co-authored the textbook "Transients in Electrical Circuits". Professor Katz's superb teaching skills and passion for his subject matter helped thousands of students launch a career in the burgeoning field of electrical and electronic technologies.
Throughout his life, Professor Katz also endeavored to pass along the life-saving knowledge of swimming. He taught thousands of children and adults from the 1950's to the early 1970's as part of the NYC Parks Department's Learn-To-Swim program. A longtime resident of Lower East Side of Manhattan, he and his wife Dorothea helped organize the Lower Eastside Neighborhood Association (LENA) which coordinated sports activities for inner-city children. Katz also volunteered with the VA to provide water rehabilitation for injured veterans.
In addition, for 40 years, he was "Coach Katz" of the swim team at the 14th Street Y, where he himself swam regularly. He was honored by the American Red Cross for his volunteer service as a Water Safety Instructor, the CCNY Alumni Varsity Association's Service Award, and in 1996, by the National Fitness Leaders Association.
Those who knew "Coach" have warm memories of him as a kindhearted teacher, coach, mentor and motivator.
Professor Katz is survived by three daughters and one son, Dr. Jane Katz, Paul Katz, Elaine Kuperberg and June Guzman; five grand¬children: Jason, Stephen, Justin, Austen and Autumn, and one great-grandson: Julian. He was preceded in death by his parents, two older brothers, and his wife, Dorothea.
Your memories and thoughts are welcome through sharing on an online guestbook, legacy.com In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to the 14th Street Y. Please see: 14StreetY.org
The funeral service will be held at Gramercy Park Memorial Chapel, 353 Second Ave (bet 20 & 21 St.), New York, NY on Sunday, January 11, 2015. Photo viewing and visiting at 10:30 AM. Service scheduled to start promptly at 11:00 AM.
Published on NYTimes.com from Jan. 8 to Jan. 9, 2015