Lillian Sturm Katz

October 11, 1931March 27, 2021

OBITUARY OF LILLIAN STURM KATZ LILLIAN STURM KATZ, 89, passed away on March 27, 2021 in Sarasota, FL after a long illness. The daughter of Spencer and Gussie Jean Pross, Lillian was born in New York City and spent her youth in Liberty, NY, where she was deeply influenced by her Bubbe and extended family. She attended college in New York City where she majored in Journalism. She met her true love purely by chance over a bowl of Rice Krispies at a weekend getaway in Lake Minnewaska in 1952. Lillian and Walter married in September 1952, shortly before her 19th birthday. Theirs was a fairy tale marriage filled with music, travel, and love. They went to the opera, the symphony, Tanglewood, and many other classical performances, and danced to Strauss waltzes in their kitchen. Devoted to each other, they had three children, Debbie, Susan and Bob, and lived in Glen Cove, NY until Walter passed away in March 1989. Lillian was best known for her creativity and talent. When Walter became ill, she took over as president of his company, R-Tex Decoratives Company, Inc. and brought it to new heights. While there she invented wired ribbon, revolutionizing the ribbon industry. She holds two patents for its original design and another patent covering the process and relevant machine adaptations for manufacturing wired ribbon in the United States. Her fabric designs were celebrated and sought after the world over. She was fêted by industry peers and honored to be invited to the White House to decorate it with wired ribbon for Christmas by three Administrations beginning with former President George and Barbara Bush. In her day, Lillian was an outspoken champion for women’s rights, and worked on the political campaigns of notables including Adlai Stevenson and John F. Kennedy. Her talent was boundless, and she utilized her artistic skills to help support causes closest to her heart. Following her retirement, she moved to Lenox, MA and Boynton Beach, FL, and subsequently to Sarasota, FL. She was recognized for her magnificent centerpieces, and for her elaborate Passover “Matzoh Houses” which she believed to have been the inspiration for the now more commonly available versions of them. In her leisure time, Lillian loved to cook, and spent countless hours researching recipes. She was known for her incredible soups, for her brisket, and for helping her husband Walter recreate dishes from Augsburg, Germany that had been lost at the hands of the Nazis. She loved to entertain and was renowned in the communities where she lived for her active participation in community governance and her incredible centerpieces she made for parties. Her hobbies included knitting, photography, sketching with pastels and charcoals, traveling, and entertaining. She was an avid bridge player, a voracious reader, adored going to live performances, a keen debater especially about politics, and loved spending time with her family and friends. While she dabbled in journalistic endeavors, was recognized with awards in writing and journalism while in college, and often created poems to mark special occasions, she never realized her dream of writing a book until very recently when she wrote “My Bubbe,” a memoir about Bialystok, the city in Poland from which her mother’s family emigrated to America. The book, a multi-year work, was nearly finished at her death, and will be treasured by her family for the years the come. Lillian was predeceased by both her husbands, and dearly missed her first husband Walter, and love of her life, until the day she died. She believed she would rejoin Walter in heaven. She is survived by her children Deborah (Debbie) Rausch (Leo Rausch), Susan Sturm (Lee Wexler), and Bob Sturm; by her grandchildren Becca Rausch (Lior Barnoon), Rachel Wisch (Jo Wisch and Jason Kelly), Ben Wexler (Michael Napolitano), Emily Wexler, Josh Sturm, and Sara Sturm; and by her great-grandchildren Eitan and Micah Barnoon, and Kiva Wisch. The family is especially grateful to the staff of Grand Living at Lakewood Ranch, and to her caregiver Jennifer Currier, who did so much to make her last days comfortable and peaceful. A private graveside funeral service will be held at Mount Ararat Cemetery on Long Island on Tuesday, March 30, 2021, where Lillian will be laid to rest next to her husband Walter. In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Lillian may be made to the Crohns & Colitis Foundation, Tanglewood, the programs of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation (for example, or the charity of your choice.


  • Graveside Service

    Tuesday, March 30, 2021


Lillian Sturm Katz

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Jennifer Currier

March 29, 2021

Lillian will be missed so dearly. She was a joy to care for and get to know. A remarkable women and unmatched talent. Lillian has a amazing family and I am so blessed to be part of your lives. I know Lillian did a great shimmy all the way to heaven and is so happy looking down at us all now. Until we meet again my dear friend ❤️ Jennifer