Bob and Kat

Kat’s Eulogy

When I was 10 years old my father took me to a diner. He gave me a nickel for the jukebox at our table. I played Danny Boy, the old maudlin Irish ballad sung by Dennis Day. I loved things Irish, even at that young age, because they represented New York to me: Jimmy Cagney, The Bowery Boys, etc. Little did I know at ten years old that, today, I would spend nearly 2/3 of my life deeply loving someone Irish.

I am reading a book in which famous comedians are interviewed. Mel Brooks was interviewed and he had this to say about late wife, Anne Bancroft. “We would hang out for, like twenty-four hours. How many people could stand their wives for twenty-four hours? But she-I could cry now. She was easy, let me tell you. She was easy. She was fun”.

Kathy and I first dated at the beginning of October 1967.

We quickly became a couple after that first date. Being in that early relationship with Kathy was like being in a wonderful dream, one that you hoped would never end. And it never did.

In the middle of our early relationship I l left Kathy to go on a trip across country with my cousin Bill for six weeks. We didn’t break up. I wrote Kathy often and we spoke on the phone perhaps, weekly. This was just a stupid thing I decided to do. My cousin Bill wanted to stay in California. I wanted to get back to Kathy. The day after I got back we saw Fiddler On The Roof on Broadway.

We were both in love and began to make wedding plans. We decided to elope because it was the easiest thing for us to do, we didn’t know how our families would react, perhaps we were selfish. Neither of us ever regretted our decision. Kathy had 16 years of Catholic school education and I was, culturally, a Jew although not religious.

Kathy was a social worker with NYC. She enlisted her welfare clients to find someone to marry us. They found a priest, Father John Regan, who had a small church in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. The church had once been a synagogue; the Jewish stars were still on the plate glass panels in the front doors. My cousin Steve was my best man, Mary Debiak, Kathy’s college roommate and roommate in their apartment in Brooklyn after graduation, was maid of honor. There were a few welfare clients also in attendance. That was the entire wedding party.

When the short wedding ceremony was over and we finished saying our “I Do’s, I experienced one of the two best feelings I have ever experienced in my life. Kathy and I were now married and in that instant I knew my life had changed for the better and it would never be the same. The other best moment of my life was when Jonathan was born 2 and ½ years later. Nothing has ever come close to those two moments.

Tied for third best day is any one of 10,000 days.

We got along famously well with each other’s families. Kathy treated my parents as if they were her parents and they returned the love and affection. She became great friends with my sister, Sheila, and treated my brother David better than anyone. We could not have had better family relationships and it is true to this day.

Kathy was smart, oh so good-hearted and a much better person than I could hope to be. She loved people, especially those people who had a need to be appreciated and loved. When she worked at NWS Earle she was like a second mother to many of the young sailors she met. She advised them, supported them and cheered them on.

If you were her friend she more than likely loved your children, your grandchildren, your good friends, your partner in life. Kathy loves my friend Mike because I love Mike. She didn’t have to tell you that she loved you. You knew it by the way she acted. She gave big hugs and was a great cheerleader and supporter in your personal goals. Ally and Connie, I can’t tell you how many times she would rave about you after seeing you. Joe Nowak is possibly the only person Kathy would have left me for. All Joe did was hold the car door open for Kathy and Kathy was almost in love. Kathy was a great judge of character.

Kathy is my wife, my lover, the mother of our child, Jonathan, my partner. and my best friend. We never competed with each other and we took enormous pride in each other’s accomplishments

We rarely asked each other for anything and she gave me everything that counted in life.

Here are some things you may not have known about Kathy

1. She was a very good student in high school and she planned to go into the Peace Corp after college. As a senior in high school she was found to have epilepsy. She could not join the Peace Corps because of the epilepsy. So she became a social worker in Brooklyn. Her bad fortune led to my good fortune because I would not have met her had she joined the Peace Corps.

2. She was the prom queen in high school. Imagine that, Bobby Jacobs, Brooklyn Jew, married the Catholic school prom queen. A dream that many boys have had only to be realized by me. But she was so much more than a prom queen.

3. Tell story when we went to night school in 1971, she asked me to drive someone home and I got angry with her.

We moved to Washington to be with Jonathan and Nikki and our soon to be born grandchildren, Bodie and Charli. As difficult as it was to leave our friends and family here, it was something we had to do and it gave us a dimension to our lives that you can only experience as grandparents.

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  1. Annette says:

    Again, small correction (I’m a frustrated editor, and, my David was a grammar nut) are family s/be-our family.

    Love the detail of the Jewish stars still on the doors.

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