Abraham Morris “Abe” Katz

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Abraham Morris “Abe” Katz

Pakuonis, Prienai District Municipality, Kaunas, Lithuania
Death 21 Jul 1995 (aged 88)
Corpus Christi, Nueces County, Texas, USA
Burial Corpus Christi, Nueces County, Texas, USA
Plot Section BI - Bnai Israel
Memorial ID 145254143 · View Source
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Abe M. Katz, born 1906, a prominent South Texas farmer and rancher, passed away Friday, July 21, 1995 in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Katz, along with his brother Leon, Lithuanian immigrants, arrived in Mexico in 1926, with $2.50 in his pocket. He could speak neither Spanish nor English although he was fluent in five other languages. The brothers' entry into the United States was postponed until 1928 due to immigration quotas and visa restrictions. Meanwhile, Katz sold clothes door-to-door in Mexico by reading 50 words in Spanish a man had written for him. He became a United States citizen in 1935 and in 1936, he started the Abe M. Katz Company, a produce growing and distribution firm. He later developed the Katz Building and was a partner in Parkdale Plaza Shopping Center, Corpus Christi's largest in 1957. Katz also developed the Metropolitan Life Building.

In 1955, he started Valley Onions, Inc. as President/Partner with principal offices in McAllen. The company was involved in the growing and shipping of produce in one of the largest operations in the United States, covering 22 acres for its world-wide distribution facility with additional acres in the Rio Grande Valley and Mexico. Known throughout the world as the "Onion King", Katz created the Blue Baby brand trademark and was instrumental in financing research at Texas A&M University, which resulted in the development of the Texas 1015 Onion in 1982. Valley Onions, Inc. and its trademark Blue Baby onions were sold to A Duda and Sons of Florida.

He was appointed by Gov. Dolph Briscoe to a six-year term on the Texas State Finance Commission. Katz was a member of the National Executive Board of the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association and was a founder and director of the Texas Citrus and Vegetable Association. He was honored in 1986 as a recipient of the Produce Hall of Fame award.

Katz was known for his kind, gentle spirit, keen business and mind, and philanthropic deeds. As he continued to prosper, he shared his wealth with others. His deep commitment to Jewish causes was reflected in the late 1940's when he joined with Benzion Netanyahu in helping secure arms for the future state of Israel. The friendship of these two men and Menachim Begin flourished and their goal was achieved with the recognition of Israel as a state in 1948. Yet his love for America and its numerous opportunities never diminished. He often said, "No American-born person can have the deep feelings and appreciation that I and others have for the United States. It's a great privilege and honor to be an American citizen."

His numerous financial contributions to countless charities helped to support civic and religious institutions. He chaired the Combined Jewish Appeal and Israel Bonds Drive many times. He was a founder and president of B'nai Israel Synagogue and Life Member of B'nai B'rith. A great believer in Jewish education, Katz gave of his time and financial aid to the Hebrew Academy of Houston, the Jonathan Netanyahu Academy of San Antonio, was a sponsor of the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington, D. C. among others. He also served on the Board of The National Conference of Christians and Jews, South Texas Region, and was a member of the National Executive Committee of the Zionist Organization of America and Jewish National Fund. His many awards included the City of Peace Award for outstanding participation in the sale of State of Israel Bonds and Israel's Thirtieth Anniversary Year award for the State of Israel bonds. Katz was also the recipient of the Prime Minister's Club Cabinet and the Golden Trustee Society.

He was a member of Robstown Lodge No. 1062, AF & AM, a 32nd degree Scottish Rite Mason and a member of Al Amin Shrine Temple in Corpus Christi. Katz was preceded in death by his parents and two sisters who were lost in the Holocaust, and his brothers Leon and Max.

Survivors include his loving wife of 60 years, Doris Goodman Katz, his daughters, Annette and husband Dr. James Cottingham, Corpus Christi, Sharon E. Katz and Carol K. Fisherman, Houston; his grandchildren, great grandchildren, and numerous extended family members.

Services will be held Sunday, July 23, 1995 at B'nai Israel Synagogue with burial to follow at Seaside Memorial Park with Rabbi Leo Heim of Houston and Rabbi Hyman Weissman officiating.

Corpus Christi Caller-Times dated July 23, 1995

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  • Created by: LJCL16
  • Added: 19 Apr 2015
  • Find a Grave Memorial 145254143
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Abraham Morris “Abe” Katz (18 Dec 1906–21 Jul 1995), Find a Grave Memorial no. 145254143, citing Seaside Memorial Park, Corpus Christi, Nueces County, Texas, USA ; Maintained by LJCL16 (contributor 47878768) .