Kimberley, South Africa


Katz, Shirley (nee Chin)

Shirley Katz

Kimberley historian Steve Lunderstedt the Kimberley historian writes: The Jewish community of Kimberley has lost one of their most active members over the last eight decades. The well-known Kimberley citizen, tireless humanitarian and animal lover Shirley Katz died in the city she loved on Thursday 28 March 2018.

Shirley married her late husband Jules Katz in 1949 and together they built up the hardware and building supplies firm in Kimberley - “Jules Katz and Co” - into a household name throughout the Northern Cape.

Shirley will be best remembered for her very active role in not only supporting but also raising funds for the SPCA, her great love for animals ensuring that the Charity was never short on assistance. It was she who virtually ran the SPCA fete for several decades before being forced to retire because of advancing years.

It was not just the SPCA – she was also enthusiastically involved in the MOTH, being Treasurer of the Northern Cape Province and the El Daba Corner Shellhole for many years.

A kind, compassionate and loving soul, it was truly a pleasure to know her. Very much an unsung heroine, Shirley will be sorely missed.

She leaves to mourn her passing, two sons Jeffrey and Barry, two daughters Moeksie and Rosie, and four grandchildren Jason, David, Jessica and Taryn. Her husband Jules pre-deceased her in April 2010.

Deepest sympathy to her family.

May she RIP.

Don Macleod said on the Facebook site: The Katz couple gave me my first job on leaving school. Shop was opposite the Kimberley Library where Dick Ridley had a corner in the electrical business of Jules & Shirley Katz. Jules taught me about business with many a clout alongside the head with his big hands.

Barry Katz Wow!!! Also had a few of those clouts. Never helped me though!!

Hi Barry, condolences to yourself and family on the passing your mom. A great lady and gave plenty advice in young years. Played soccer under Jules at Kenilworth soccer squad. My they both rest in eternal peace. I remember you as a baby brought to the shop and yelling the place down occasionally. Go well old friend.

Barry Katz Again, thank you all very much for your kind thoughts & messages. It makes me realise how loved my mom was.

Barney Horwitz Chairman of the Jewish Community says: A small person physically but a giant of a lady, Shirley Katz passed away peacefully this afternoon (Thursday March 28, 2018). My sincere condolences to Jeff, Barry, Moeksie, Rosie and families. Shirley and late Jules were pillars of our community and will always be remembered for the amazing amount of charitable work they did anonymously. For anyone who grew up in Kimberley in the sixties and seventies, they will always recall a lady who worked tirelessly for the abandoned animals of this city and for the aged - and of course for her wonderful biscuits. A shining star has dimmed. May she do well in the world to come. Her funeral will be on Monday, 2nd April 2018 at 12:00 at the West End Cemetery and Rabbi Moshe Silberhaft will officiate.

Joyce Sack, one of the many who sent condolences on the synagogue Facebook pages, said: That is so sad indeed. She was one of my mentors and teachers and I enjoyed every minute working with her. She was a true Lady and I admired her so much. Wishing all the Katz families long life. Wish I could have been there for the funeral to pay my last respects. But I will be there in spirit.

Myra Goldenbaum says to all the Katz family - be proud of your incredible mother - she was a great support to me when I was Chairman of the Union of Jewish Women in Kimberley - we were personal friends and close to her brother Arnold and Buela
We wish you all Long Life and our prayers - Myra and Joseph Goldenbaum

Delia Benn expressed the thoughts of so many Kimberley ex-pats who knew Shirley and sent greetings of long life to the family, when she said: Jeff, Barry, Moeksie and Rosie, your dear mom was an inspiration to so many of us as she dedicated her life to helping those less fortunate and taught us the true meaning of giving. She moved through life with grace and beauty. A true Eishet Chayil! Bobby and I wish you all a long life. May you be comforted by wonderful memories!

Barney Horwitz, Chairman of the community said on 2 April 2018:

Thank you to all those who attended Shirley Katz's funeral today. Special thanks to Shirley Allen, Lizette Datnow and Ida Horwitz who took care of the Tahara, Reb Moshe Silberhaft who conducted the service and David Allen for all his support.

Here is the Eulogy I Shirley Katz’s funeral

Shirley Katz was born Shirley Chin on the 11th November 1928, the eldest child of Maya and Annie Chin. Shirley spent her early years in Modder River and later moved to Kimberley where she matriculated from Girls High. At school she was a model pupil. I know, my late mother taught her and used to relate how her answers to the exam questions became the template for teachers against which to mark her peers’ scripts.

In 1949 she married Jules Katz and in 1951 they established a hardware and building supplies business, Jules Katz and Co. which grew into a household name in Kimberley and the Northern Cape. Their enterprise produced Jeff in 1952, Barry in 1956, Moeksie in 1959 and Rosie in 1961.

Shirley was active in the Union of Jewish Women and from the 1960’s until she fell ill in 2016 actively participated in running the Cosy Corner Tea Club for the aged in Kimberley. She was also extremely active in the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and a silent helper in a host of other charitable organizations.

She also wholeheartedly supported Jules when he served as Vice Chairman of the Kimberley Jewish Congregation, President of the Hebrew Order of David – Louis Isaacson Lodge, a Trustee of the Shul, President of the Lions Club of Kimberley and in the business.

When you met Shirley, she came across as a very humble person which she was, but she was also a devoted wife and mother and inseparable from her husband, her sons Jeffrey and Barry, her daughters Moeksie and Rosie and her grandchildren Jason, David, Jessica and Taryn.

She leaves a great void in our Community and in our personal lives which were enriched simply by knowing her.

In a strange coincidence, last Thursday morning, when we lifted her Tachrichim from the shelf where they had been kept in the Shul, we found the Marriage Register from the late 1920’s and the first page we opened recorded the marriage of her parents, Maya and Annie Chin in 1926.It was almost as if they had been guarding her shroud and were looking over her now.

In closing, whenever Shirley was asked to bid Congregants farewell when they were leaving Kimberley, she would recite the ancient Celtic blessing “May the Road Rise up to Meet You” and I can think of nothing more appropriate than to do likewise as we say our final goodbye to her:

“May the road rise up to meet you.

May the wind be always at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face;

The rains fall soft upon your fields

And until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of His hand.”

Barney Horwitz
Chairman Griqualand West Hebrew Congregation