Mary Sweed Katzenstein

Mary Sweed Katzenstein, died August 26, 2013 at age 93 after a long illness. Born April 16, 1920, she was predeceased by her husband of 49 years, Dr. F.C. “Fritz” Katzenstein, in 1993. She is survived by her son Lawrence “Larry” Katzenstein and his wife Cheryl of St. Louis; her daughter Dorothea “Dodo” Katzenstein (Martin Puterman) of Vancouver, Canada; grandchildren Jenny Puterman (Steve Rosenzweig), David Puterman and Nina Katzenstein; great-grandsons Joshua and Ari Rosenzweig; five nieces and a nephew; sister-in-law Rosetta Sweed; cousins and friends. She also was predeceased by her brothers, Milton and Aaron Sweed. Mary Katzenstein was born in Russia and raised in Milwaukee, WI. Her Russian name, Manya, was changed by immigration officials when the family moved to the United States in 1923. As a child, she spoke fluent Yiddish, the common language of her Milwaukee neighborhood. While working as an elementary school teacher in 1944, she met and married Fritz, a refugee from Nazi Germany. After the war, they lived in Salem, IL, where he had established a medical practice. They moved to Clayton following his retirement in 1990, and Mary moved to McKnight Place in 2008. In Salem, Mary worked as a substitute teacher and for several years volunteered as a “Doll Lady,” presenting a school program called Dolls for Democracy. The program, developed in the 1950’s and sponsored by B’nai B’rith Women (now Jewish Women International),  used hand-made dolls depicting famous people of different races and religions –including Eleanor Roosevelt, Chaim Weitzman and baseball hero Jackie Robinson– to promote acceptance of diversity. Mary and Fritz were active members of Temple Solomon in Centralia, IL; the synagogue served as a center for the small Southern Illinois Jewish community. In St. Louis, she was a member of Congregation Shaare Emeth, a volunteer with the Holocaust Museum and a peer counselor with the widows’ grief support program of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW—St. Louis Section). A funeral service was held August 29 at New Mt. Sinai Cemetery. Memorial contributions to the Cedarhurst Center for the Arts, 2600 Richview Road, Mt. Vernon, Ill. 62864, (618) 242-1236, or a charity of your choice. Berger Memorial