Marjorie Katz, 70, was "a remarkable lady"
Wife of Daily News/Inquirer co-owner remembered with humor and profound love
MARJORIE JOY Nemarow Katz, 70, of Cherry Hill, who died Friday from complications following a stroke, was "a remarkable person," said her husband of 47 years, Lewis Katz, a co-owner of the Daily News and Inquirer.
"She was a remarkable lady," Katz said after yesterday's funeral services at Congregation Beth El in Voorhees and interment at Crescent Memorial Park in Pennsauken.
"I don't think she had an enemy in the world," Katz said. "She was sweet, kind, smart, fun-loving and the best mother that any two children could want. Her passion was her four grandchildren."
Katz paused, then said, "And I will miss her forever."
Never in the public eye, Marjorie Katz was a committed philanthropist.
"She created a multitude of scholarships for kids in Camden to go to college," her husband said, "and she very quietly and privately supported families in our community for years and years.
"One lady who was here tonight," Katz said, "[my wife] paid her rent for the last 20 years."
That wasn't the only example of his wife's personal commitment to people in need, Katz said.
"She raised a Vietnamese child that she met in a beauty shop when he was 3," Katz said. "She supported him, supported his family, paid for tutors, paid for his college. She was a remarkable person."
Their son, Drew Katz, 42, is proof that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
Drew Katz made Oprah Winfrey's 2011 "O-Wow List" of "achievers whose breakthrough ideas took our breath away this year."
Oprah cited his Drew A. Katz Foundation, which has contributed more than $1 million to 225 nonprofits helping at-risk families and individuals.
"I grew up in a family of philanthropists," Drew told Oprah's website. "My mother had such a soft spot for those in need, like her hairdresser's children, whom she sent to summer camp; my father built Boys & Girls Clubs in Camden."
Marjorie Nemarow grew up in Vineland, N.J., with her brother Jeffrey, now deceased.
She graduated from Vineland High School, and received her bachelor's degree from Penn State in 1965. She married Lewis Katz a year later.
In addition to her husband and son, she is survived by her daughter, Melissa Katz Silver; four grandchildren; and her stepfather, Irwin Hyman - who Drew called "really my mom's dad" before reading his message at the funeral.
Hyman remembered his daughter's driving style in the old days. "I'd say, 'Margie, maybe you should let me drive and the city won't have to replace all of its fire hydrants. You just knocked over another one.'
"Except for her driving skills," Hyman wrote, "Margie was the most giving and loving human being one could ever know. She was the love of my life."
Drew echoed that emotion in his eulogy. "Mom," he said, "I have never met another human being as loving as you. In that tiny frame of yours exists a heart that was fit for a giant."
OK, he admitted, maybe his mom had one small fault during his childhood.
"Since I did not always love the way you cooked steak," Drew confessed, "sometimes, I would throw some of the pieces into the boots we left by the kitchen door. When winter arrived and I went to put on my boots, I couldn't get them on because there was what I thought was rocks in them."
And he shared one more meat memory: "As a kid, you took excellent care of me," Drew said, "except the one time Melissa and I were fighting and you threw a frozen meat loaf at me - now that was traumatic. I mean really, Mom, a meat loaf?"
Drew said that even "after multi-organ failure for 10 days with a ventilator and enough sedation to kill an elephant," his mother "brought love and humor into our lives."
He concluded, "I literally cannot imagine the rest of my life without you."
In the spirit of Marjorie Katz's life of caring, the family suggested that, in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to The Katz Academy Charter School in Camden, the Boys & Girls Club of Camden County, Covenant House International (which serves homeless youth) or "to the charity or cause near to your heart that you think Marjorie would connect to."