August 22, 2019

Social Justice Activist Helen Gail Katz, 79

Helen gail Katz, a fixture in the Los Angeles volunteer community, died on Aug. 5 at the age of 79. 

Katz spent every day committed to doing something that nudged the balance a little more toward social justice, expanded her horizons, or helped the Jewish community. In return, she was blessed with a loving family, including a marriage of  58 years to Sid, whom she met on a trip to Lake Arrowhead when she was 15. 

The couple were avid travelers, reveling in natural beauty and unfamiliar communities, taking in such far-flung outposts as Turkey, India, Ireland, Australia, Peru, Bhutan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Iceland, England, France, Italy and Japan.

Katz was also a tireless activist. She was a fervent believer in everyone receiving fair and ethical treatment. She put her values into action, including taking part in the recent protests at immigration centers. She volunteered with the League of Women Voters, Common Cause, Progressive Jewish Alliance, Habonim Dror-Camp Gilboa, and the L.A.C.E.R. (Literacy, Arts, Culture, Education and Recreation) Afterschool Programs. She also was the first female president of the Jewish Community Centers Association of Greater Los Angeles.

Friends recall Katz’s fabulous cooking, her shrewd card playing and how she was always ready with a book she thought you should read. 

Katz is survived by her husband, Sid, three children and six grandchildren.

Katz was buried Aug. 7 at Hillside Memorial Park. The family has requested that donations in her memory be sent to L.A.C.E.R. Afterschool Programs and Habonim Dror-Camp Gilboa. n

­­— Steven Mirkin