William Emanuel Katz, 94, of Honesdale, Pennsylvania, and Weston, Massachusetts, died peacefully on November 10th after a long and full life. William was born in Honesdale to Edward David Katz and Aimee Helen Rosenfelder Katz on June 12, 1924. His grandfather W. Jonas Katz was a founder, with his brothers, of the Katz Bros. Department Store and the Katz Underwear Company. He studied classical piano as a child, and by his teen years, was leading his own dance band, The Swing Seven. At the age of 16, William became the first denizen of Honesdale to go to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
William served in the Army during World War II, as a sergeant and leader of the VHF Radio Team of the 389th Signal Corps (Aviation) on the island of Tinian in the Pacific. After the war, he returned to MIT to finish his bachelors and masters degrees in chemical engineering. During that time, he had a jazz piano program on the MIT radio station, and wrote, arranged, and led the orchestra for the music for several original MIT "Tech Show" musicals. Some of that music was played by the Boston Pops, led by Arthur Fiedler, at an MIT night at the Pops.
William joined other MIT graduates at a young start-up company, Ionics Inc., pioneering new water purification and desalination techniques, and spent his entire career there, becoming Executive Vice President, and traveling the globe to build water desalting plants from Corfu to the Canary Islands. He holds several patents in the field, was named Water Quality Person of the Year 1992 by the American Desalting Association, and received a Life Achievement Award from the International Desalination Association in 1999.
In 1960, William married social worker and artist Martha Elizabeth Legg, the great love of his life. While they raised their family in the Boston area, William also maintained his childhood home in Honesdale. The entire extended family still gathers in Honesdale for Thanksgiving, for the Wayne County Fair, and for other family events, and William maintained a lifelong membership in the temple founded by his forebears, Congregation Beth Israel in Honesdale, as well as in the club at Kellows Pond.
William Katz leaves behind a sister, Corinne Katz Hoexter, four children (Susan, Martha, David and James Katz), four sons-and-daughters-in-law (Paul Miller, Dennis McCann, Mimi Martin, and Chelsea Whittaker), and seven grandchildren (Aimee and Ben Miller, Annabelle Laserson, and William, Josephine, and Mariella Katz). He was preceded in death by his beloved wife Martha, his sister Sarah, and beloved grandson Charles Laserson.
A service will be held at Congregation Beth Israel in Honesdale on Sunday November 18th at 11am. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Congregation Beth Israel, or the Honesdale (Wayne County) Library.
Arrangements are attended by the Arthur A. Bryant Funeral Home 1228 Main St. Honesdale, Pa 18431