Lewis Katz || Marcella Dalsey
Father, Grandfather, Champion, Mentor, and Friend
January 11, 1942 – May 31, 2014
Thank you, dad for leaving such a remarkable imprint on us all – we will work to carry on the enormous legacy that you created and instilled on our family. Your greatest treasures, Drew, Rachel, Melissa, Stephen, Ethan, Brooke, Taryn and Remi. Forever in our Hearts…
Lewis Katz was born in Camden, New Jersey on January 11, 1942 and grew up in the Parkside section of the city.
Sadly, on May 31, 2014, Lewis was killed, along with three friends and three crew members, when his private jet crashed during an attempted take-off at Hanscom Field in Massachusetts. His friends included Susan Asbell, a childhood friend active with Lewis in the Camden Boys & Girls Club; Marcy Dalsey, Executive Director of The Rachel and Drew Katz Foundation and cofounder of the Katz Dalsey Academy Charter School in Camden; and Anne Leeds, a neighbor and retired preschool teacher.
Lewis Katz was the founder and director of the Katz Foundation. He was known for being a remarkable humanitarian, entrepreneur and family man. He spent his life supporting a variety of charitable, educational and medical caused and lived by the mantra, “You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who can never hope to repay you.”
Drew Katz, son and Founder and CEO of The Rachel & Drew Katz Foundation considered his father his best friend. "He taught me everything. He never forgot where and how he grew up and he worked tirelessly to support his community in countless ways that were seen and unseen.”
A native of Camden, New Jersey, Lewis established several programs to help the children of his birthplace, one of the nation’s poorest cities. He helped build two Boys & Girls Clubs that serve nearly 3,000 young people each year. He was a member of the board of governors for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and in 2011, he received its President’s Award for his role in mounting a national advertising campaign for clubs across the country.
Lewis was a co-founder along with Marcy Dalsey of the Katz-Dalsey Academy, a charter school in the Parkside section of Camden that serves students in grades K through 4. A second Katz-Dalsey Academy opened in the city’s Cramer Hill section.
His $15 million gift to The Dickinson School of Law at Pennsylvania State University helped fund a law school building in State College that bears his name. At Dickinson’s original campus in Carlisle, where Lewis graduated first in his class, a new addition to the law school is Lewis Katz Hall. To support pioneering medical research, Lewis established an annual prize and endowed a visiting professorship in cardiovascular research at Columbia University. He served on the Board of Visitors of Columbia University Medical School.
Active in Jewish causes, Lewis helped build Jewish Community Centers in Cherry Hill and Margate, New Jersey, both named for his parents. He was instrumental in establishing a Hebrew day school in Voorhees, New Jersey that is named for his two children, Melissa and Drew.
Lewis was a founding partner of and served as of counsel to the law firm Katz, Ettin & Levine in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. He was the majority owner of five radio stations in Atlantic and Cape May counties at the Jersey shore.
Lewis was a former member of the Dickinson Law School board of trustees and a former member of the law school’s board of counselors. He served on the board of trustees of Temple University, his alma mater, as well as the board of Temple University Health System and the board of directors of Fox Chase Cancer Center. He was a member of the board of trustees of the National Constitution Center and of the Museum of the American Revolution. He also served on the board of the Starlight Children’s Foundation.
An interest in history prompted Lewis to purchase the only known signature made by President Lincoln at Gettysburg on the occasion of his historic Gettysburg address. Lincoln’s signature and an autograph book signed by other dignitaries on that day is on loan to the National Constitution Center to be displayed as part of its permanent exhibition, The Story of We the People.
In May of 2014 he was the commencement speaker at Temple University, and received an Honorary Degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa and had most recently announced a $25 million gift to the university.
In Honor of the Memory of Our Beloved Lewis, the Foundation humbly shares the Temple University commencement speech… “work matters, but family matters more”, Lewis Katz.