Ronnie Katz, grandmother, educator, friend and cancer fighter, dies at age 67

Ronnie Katz, grandmother, educator, friend and cancer fighter, dies at age 67
Ronnie Katz, an active member of the Great Neck community, died Sunday at 67 years old. (Photo courtesy of Marc Katz)

Ronnie Katz, wife of Marc, mother of Amy and Jacob, grandmother of Violet, Mikayla and Miles, and a woman who enriched the lives of Great Neck families for more than 30 years, died Sunday at the age of 67.  

Her husband, Marc Katz, a public relations and advertising specialist, said the two first met on a blind date and became inseparable leading up to their wedding in 1977.

“We formed a partnership that lasted 42 years,” Katz said. “A partnership in marriage, in business, in Judaism, in family, and as you can see, a partnership that resulted in two unbelievable children who have made us so very proud every single day.”

The two moved to Great Neck in 1980, the same year Katz Communications, a public relations and advertising firm, opened for business, Marc said. Years later, Ronnie became the manager of KC Graphics, a graphic design, printing, and invitation firm that first opened on Cuttermill Road in the Plaza.

Once Amy, 36, was born, Ronnie earned the title of “Mommy,” a job only rivaled by one that would come years later, her daughter said.

“Although the job she first wanted was to be a mommy, the job she loved equally as much was to be a grandma,” Amy said.

“I will never forget the pure joy in Mom’s eyes when she met Miles for the first time and everytime she held our sweet boy,” Jacob, 32, said.

Outside of her nuclear and then growing family, her husband said, Ronnie spent close to half of her life contributing her time and efforts to the families within the Great Neck Community.

Ronnie was very involved as a member of the Parent Teachers Association within the Great Neck Public Schools District, he said.

A member of Temple Israel since 1980, Ronnie served two terms on the temple’s board of trustees and helped introduce Tot Shabbat, a weekly program that has cultivated family-centered education in the Jewish community for more than 30 years, to the congregation.

“Ronnie also chaired the high school education committee for many years at Temple Israel, and she served as president of the Great Neck Hadassah,” Marc said. “She and I founded the Temple Israel Couples Club, a group that brings younger couples together for social purposes.”

“She touched so many of us and had such a wide and deep connection with so many of us within and beyond our congregational family,” Temple Israel Senior Rabbi Howard Stecker said.

In 2018, the congregation honored Ronnie for developing and conducting services for so many years. The event was organized by parents of children who attended her service throughout the years, Marc said.

Some other hats that Ronnie metaphorically wore throughout her life, Marc said, were that of an avid tennis player, chef, knitter/sewer, friend to many and a fighter against ovarian cancer.

Ronnie was diagnosed 5 1/2 years go, Marc said, but still was able to work and take care of her family and home.

“She managed it very well for most of that time,” Marc said. “It was only since the end of last year that more serious problems arose.”

Ovarian cancer, he said, differs from other forms of the disease because not many women realize they have it until much later on after it has progressed.

For the past five years, Jacob has organized a growing group of walkers and financial donors who participate in a yearly event for Tell Every Amazing Lady, an organization whose goal is to alert women to the early signs of ovarian cancer.

Marc said Jacob’s efforts, along with those who participate, has resulted in one of the largest teams each year, both in terms of physical participants and money raised.

“A comment said to me earlier sums it up perfectly: ‘Remember not what she died from, but what she lived for,’” Marc said.

Whether it is the Tot Shabbat program or a recipe for a mouth-watering coffee cake, the memory of Ronnie Katz is very much present throughout Great Neck.

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