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November 07, 2003 - Image 141

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-11-07

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Obituaries are updated regularly and archived on JN Online:
www.detroitjewishnews.corn

look — no words were needed.
Mr. Katz was a businessman at heart. He felt great
accomplishment in becoming an associated hard-
ware consultant and owning his own hardware and
DAVID SACHS
building supply company, S. Katz Building
Senior Copy Editor
Specialties, for 18 years.
"Steve was in hospice the last two months but he still
teve Katz loved hockey, both playing it and
wanted to come home every other day so he could do
coaching his son Ari. His favorite greeting to
business on the computer," said his wife.
friends and customers — his signature line
Work was always very important to him — before
— was "Shoot the puck, eh?".
his illness he would work endless hours to help make
And when this lifelong hockey enthusiast came
ends meet. In the early stages of his disease, Mr. Katz,
down with ALS in 1997, he showed the enormous
with the aid of his wife, wrote a line for his eulogy
courage of another great competitor — New York
describing how he wanted to be remembered: "A 'Jew
Yankee iron man Lou Gehrig — who called himself
Boy With a Tool Belt' — never afraid to work."
"the luckiest man on the face of the earth" when struck
"Stew maintained his sense of
with the same paralyzing disease in 1939.
humor
until the end," said his wife.
Mr. Katz, of Farmington Hills, died Nov.
"We
were
together for 25 years;
2, 2003, at age 50.
there's nothing better than having a
"My dad was determined he was going to
couple that makes each other
fight and be the same person he always
laugh." Even in the advanced stages
was," said Ari.
of his illness, he would send out
While Mr. Katz lost his ability to move
jokes on his e-mail.
everything but his head, he never lost his sense
Mr. Katz outlived the usual life
of humor or his will to live. With the aid of an
expectancy
of ALS patients with the
infrared light worn on his forehead, he could
tender care given by Joanne, Ari
communicate by "typing" on an onscreen corn-
and daughter Michele, along with
puter keyboard. He considered the computer
the support of friends and family.
his lifeline that kept him included in every
Mr. Katz's first priority was
aspect of daily living. But he could also com-
always
his family. Son Ari, 20, was
Steven Katz
municate with his wife, Joanne, with just a

Man Of Courage

S

Remarkable Career

DAVID SACHS

Senior Copy Editor

F,

or 36 years, Helen Salamon was the tena-
cious attorney who headed the penalties
division of the U.S. Customs office in
Detroit. She was known nationally as the
go-to guru on customs law.
She was so respected for her knowledge of customs
law that when she finally retired from civil service five
years ago — at age 89 — she had multiple job offers
from the law firms that used to go up against her.
"She was real tough," said her son, Dr. Robert
Salamon of Novi. "The big-shot attorneys would come
in, particularly from the auto companies and the peo-
ple who would be importing parts from overseas —
and they would think, This is a pushover, we're just
going to walk in there and deal with this little old lady.'
And they would walk out with their tail between their
legs. She knew the law perfectly.
"When she retired, there was a dinner for her and
people spoke about her as if they were in awe. They
couldn't believe that this tiny 89-year-old woman was
able to do all that."
Mrs. Salamon, of Southfield, died Oct. 28, 2003, at
age 94. Her health had declined after a pelvic fracture
three months ago.
Mrs. Salamon's early career was just as remarkable as

raised with a hockey stick in hand. Daughter Michele,
17, loves to dance, and he took pleasure seeing her per-
form. Another delight was going to the Red Wings
games with his little girl.
Mr. Katz's shared his love for his mint-condition
1978 Datsun 280Z sports car with his son.
"This was his baby," said Ari. "When he got sick, it
was my job to take over and keep it maintained. We've
won awards for it."
When Michele was little, every night, her father
would put her to bed saying, "Go to sleep — and
when you wake up, it will be a beautiful sunny day."
"He was a very optimistic man," said Ari. 'And he
was determined not to let the disease disrupt what he
believed in."
Steven Larry Katz is survived by his wife, Joanne
Marshak Katz; son, Ari; daughter, Michele; parents,
Herbert and Ruth Katz of West Bloomfield; sister,
Debra Katz and fiance Albert Holtz; grandmother,
Flora Stulberg Weisberg.
He was the loving grandson of the late Jack and
Mildred Katz and the late Sam Stulberg; son-in-law
of the late Babe Marshak Saxon; brother-in-law of
the late Rick Wolpe.
Interment was at the Adat Shalom Memorial Park.
Contributions may be made to Hospice of Michigan-
Oaldand Team, 2525 Telegraph, Suite 100, Bloomfield
Hills, MI 48302 or to Jewish Family Service, 24123
Greenfield, Southfield, MI 48075. Arrangements by
Dorfman Chapel. ❑

her octogenarian accomplishments.
to her family."
At age 12 and speaking no English, she immigrated
In 1929, she married_Dr. Stanley M. Salamon, a
with her family to Detroit from a small town in
dentist. He died in 1990. Their two sons, Peter and
Eastern Hungary. Six years later, she graduated
Robert, are both orthopedic surgeons.
Northwestern High School and, in 1938, received a
"When she was at the customs office, it was before
law degree from the University of Detroit.
the free trade agreement, so everything was dutiable,"
She went to work for the Detroit law firm where her said son Robert. "I have letters congratulating her for
neighbor, future federal appellate Judge George Edwards,
winning the government millions of dollars in duties.
practiced. He got her involved in Democratic politics
"Many people wrote letters to my mother saying
and she rose to the top of the state party
that she had been an inspiration to
hierarchy.
them. She was something else."
She served as secretary of the
Mrs. Salamon is survived by her sons
Michigan Democratic Party in the 1950s
and daughter-in-law, Peter and Susan
and was a delegate to two national presi-
Salamon of Stockton, Calif., Robert
dential-nominating conventions. She
Salamon of Novi; daughter-in-law, Lilly
worked on campaigns of Gov. G.
Salamon of Farmington Hills; brother
Mennen Williams and was chairman of
and sister-in-law, Jules and Kathleen
the successful 1960 re-election campaign
Trattner of Carmel, Calif.; sisters,
of U.S. Sen. Patrick McNamara.
Elizabeth Altman of Jackson Heights,
During her party years, she met all the
N.Y.; brother-in-law, Leo Rubin; grand-
Democratic presidents — Harry
children, Michael (Beth) Salamon, Sarah
Truman, John E Kennedy and Lyndon
Salamon, Julia Salamon; great-grand-
Johnson. It was Kennedy who appointed
daughter, Alexandra Salamon.
her to the customs office in 1960, and
She was the beloved wife of the late
Helen Salam on
she took the civil service position there
Dr. Stanley Salamon; sister of the late
two years later.
Olga Rubin.
"In politics, she ran many programs and din-
Interment was at Oakview Cemetery. Contributions
ners," said her son. "She was very tough there, too
may be made to University of Detroit Mercy Law
— very able to handle herself with the politicians.
School: The Helen Salamon Memorial Fund, 651 E.
She didn't let anybody intimidate her.
Jefferson, Detroit, MI 48226-4386. Arrangements by
"But she was very tender, too. She was very devoted
Dorfinan Chapel.

11/ 7
2003

117

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