Sandy Katz | The life of the party

Sandy Katz | The life of the party

Sandy Katz

Sandy Katz, the freelance theater critic, photographer and travel writer whose ebullient personality and unstinting friendliness made her a memorable part of every ATCA conference, died Jan. 7 after battling kidney and cardiac illnesses for years.

Katz, 80, was currently working for and, but before that she had worked for 26 years for the Post and Courier in Charleston, South Carolina.

With a laugh that could be heard across a banquet hall, she was the center of a group of long-time critics she dubbed “possums” who schmoozed as much about their “other” lives as theater criticism.

One of her “possums,” Eddie Rubin, wrote, “Very few ATCA members, dead or alive, were as much fun and truth telling than Sandy. She was greatly loved, and rarely ignored.”

Katz alternated and often melded her roles as an arts critic and as a travel writer through trips to the Caribbean islands, Nordic countries, Turkey, Belgium and Japan. Where possible, she wrote about arts festivals during these visits and volunteered travel tips to her readers.

As her health deteriorated over the years, her articles sometimes included a sentence or paragraph about how various venues and services dealt with older customers reliant on canes and handicapped services.

Friend and editor Charles Guiliano wrote, “Sandy might better be described as a rascal. There was always a twinkle in her eye particularly when interacting with a leading man, on or off stage. (Her husband) Gerry made a point of never seeming to notice.”

“Her writing style was quirky, personal, and adventurous,” he wrote. “You got a vivid sense of how she interacted with destinations she visited. Sandy always seemed eager to go that extra mile to bring flavor to her stories. In one we posted it was a hoot to see her decked out in a colorful, traditional kimono.”

Sandra Lois Katz studied at Boston University and received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology at Lawrence University. She also received a Bachelor of Arts from Boston Hebrew Teachers College.

She is survived by her husband, Gerry, and children Robert Katz and Susan Sobel. They have three grandchildren Ari Katz, Eliora Katz and Rina Sobel.

The funeral was held Jan. 8 in Atlanta. As a daughter of a Kohan, she was buried in the special Kohan section of a cemetery. The Shiva was held in Atlanta.

Donations may be made in memory of Sandy Katz to Jewish Family Services at Charleston Jewish Federation.

— Submitted by William Hirschman.

Additional coverage:

Charles Giuliano, “Arts Critic Sandy Katz at 80: Traveling Sandy Was an ATCA Member”

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