Bertram Albert Katz, 97, departed this life on Jan 28, 2020, surrounded by his family and dearest friends. He left this world a better place than when he entered it. Those who knew and loved him will miss his warm smile, infectious humor and kind spirit. Many who didn't know him personally have countless reasons to be grateful for his good works and generosity.
Bert was born March 3, 1922, in Marion, Iowa, to Ida and Morris Katz. He was happy and proud to live in Cedar Rapids and Marion. For many years, he also spent winters in Rancho Mirage, Calif. He enjoyed golfing at Elmcrest Country Club and at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage.
During World War II, Bert was a Captain in the First Army Special Brigade under General Bradley. It was his distinct privilege to command the fine men of the First Army's only all-black unit. He took part in the invasion of Normandy and later was in the thick of the Battle of the Bulge, earning a Purple Heart and five battle stars for his service.
With his brother, Henry, Bert owned and operated Katz Salvage and Auto Parts in Marion for 45 years until 1985 and Marion Mobile Home Park until 1999. He was dedicated to his work and their partnership. The Katz brothers were key players in the economic growth and enhanced public services of modern Marion.
Bert was a people person and had a circle of dear friends. But the heart of his life was family. His special joys were Toni and Sally, his daughters with his beloved wife, Edythe. He held their early years together near to his heart. His love of family was clear in his 2013 autobiography: "Bert Katz Family, Work, War & Faith."
In every walk of life, Bert was known for his positive attitude and willingness to help others. After retirement, he volunteered for 11 years at the Mercy Hospital Trauma Center. He gave generously to many organizations in Marion and Cedar Rapids. In 2000, the city of Marion made him an honorary resident in gratitude for his significant contributions.
Among the recipients of Bert's support were: Marion Fire and Police, Kirkwood Community College, Mercy Hospital, the Hall-Perrine Cancer Center, Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Temple Judah, Marion Library Foundation, Tanager Place, Mount Mercy University, Marion Parks and St. Joseph Catholic Church. His memberships included: Temple Judah, B'nai B'rith, Chamber of Commerce, American Legion, Elmcrest Country Club and Mission Hills Country Club.
Surviving are his daughters, Toni (Giora) Neta of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Sally (Bill) Feniger of Toledo, Ohio. He had three wonderful grandchildren, Erin (Kenny) Maggio, David (Liz and Yale) Feniger and Derek (Ashleigh, Sam, Lily) Feniger. He also had many nieces and nephews who he loved very much.
Bert was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Edythe; his second wife, Suzanne; and his siblings, Celia (Phil) Pekow, Henry (Sara) Katz, Fred (Adele) Katz, Ruth (Bert) Luskin, Sydney Katz and Cathy (Mort) Engle.
Memorial Services will be held on Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020, at Murdoch Funeral Home & Cremation Service, Marion, at 10 a.m. with Rabbi Chaim Bruk officiating.
Memorials may be made to Chabad of Iowa City, Chabad of Montana and Mercy Hospice.
The family would especially like to thank Bert's caregivers. They were Blessings to Bert and his family. Thank-you to Becca, Cindy, Carrie, Marissa, Alyssa, Brittney, Carmen, Charisse, Jade, Kaylee, Regina, Heather, Renee, and Stephanie. They are also grateful for the care and support from Mercy Hospice, Kendra and Amanda. We also thank Rabbi Belsofsky and his family of Iowa City Chabad for his support and help and guidance, as well as Rabbi Chaim Bruk from Bozeman, Mont., for coming to officiate the service.
Please share a memory of Bert at www.murdochfuneralhome.com under obituaries.