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Keeping a Sense of Humor after 75 Years of Marriage

by Nanci Levy | Apr 07, 2021

roz ed 47Upon meeting Rosalyn and Ed Katzenberg, you would never guess that they have a combined age of 201!  And, equally impressive, that they celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary on April 7th of this year. When asked for advice on how to stay married for that long, Ed quipped, “Manage to stay alive”. 

Ed has a great sense of humor, still plays the piano, enjoys sitting outside when he can, and gets around with only the aid of a walker. Rosalyn always has a great story to tell, and is still a beautiful woman who barely looks a day over 80. We are so fortunate to have gotten to know and spend time with Ed and Rosalyn, residents of Handmaker’s Tynan Assisted Living Neighborhood, for the last two years. 

Born and raised in Chicago, Rosalyn was the eldest daughter of Charles and Anna (Weisberg) Litt, Russian Jewish immigrants. Despite some sadness in her young life; her bright and handsome younger brother, Buddy had diabetes and heart disease, and she lost her father when she was 16 and a student at Van Buren High School; Rosalyn was full of life. She and her best friend Lillian co-wrote a gossip column in the school newspaper written by "The Sparrows". No one knew the identity of "The Sparrows" until after graduation. Roz has always been someone who could keep a secret!   

She began secretarial work after High School, to help support her family, and was very close with her mother Anna until she died, just a year after Roz and Ed married. 

Ed’s grandparents were German Jewish immigrants, and he was also born and raised in Chicago, with his sister, Betty, who was 4 years younger than Ed.  He attended Lane Tech High School, and majored in Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University. After graduating in 1942, he was hired at the Naval Ordinance Lab in Washington DC where he joined the Navy and designed submarine depth charge detonators during World War II.

After the war, Roz and Ed met in Chicago through their mutual friend, Lillian. When asked about their first date, Ed reminisced with a smile, “It was in an automobile on Lake Shore Drive (in Chicago). We got along pretty well together. It was a good memory.” 

columbus 57Ed and Roz married in 1946. They had two children, Chuck (b. 1950) and Janet (b. 1952) who they raised in Glencoe and Deerfield, Illinois, and Columbus, Ohio. During Ed’s career he did machine design for several companies, including his own die casting company in Chicago. They left the Midwest in the late 1970s for Coral Springs, Florida where Ed worked in the battery division of Motorola, and Roz was secretary to a Vice-President at American Express.  

They both enjoyed golf and international travel. Roz was a great cook. Ed was and still is a talented musician and pianist.  At 100, he still plays medleys of songs from memory; mostly love songs from the “Golden Era” (1930s-40s). After retiring at 69 (Ed) and 70 (Roz), they moved to Tucson in 1990, where Ed volunteered, working with engineers in Hyderabad, India, and he taught computer drafting in Tucson. He loved his work.   

Their son Charles (Chuck) and his wife Pam settled in Tucson where Chuck, after a long career in Cardiology, recently retired. Pam, a lawyer, is retired from her own law practice. They have two children, Ben and Jenny.   

Roz and Ed's daughter Janet had a long career in Dance and Theater, both performance and teaching.  She and her husband Greg live in Colorado and are both retired public school teachers. They have two sons, Jon and Colin.  Jon and his wife Trista have a nine year old daughter, Ella.    

Chuck and Janet shared about their parents, “During our formative years, they both looked for our interests, talents and passions.  They nurtured us toward excellence and strong work ethics by providing opportunities.  We could never have achieved what we have in our lives without their support!”   

Ed had a great store of quotes that his kids remembered including, ”A poor mechanic blames his tools, “Measure twice, cut once” and (when they would tease Ed), "A prophet is without honor in his own country!" 

Roz’s advice on parenting children was, “Always make your children feel good about themselves.”    

Their eldest Grandson Jon remembers of Ed that “every meal was the best one he ever had”. When he was a child, Jon loved the story of how “Ed lost his pinky finger to a crocodile in Florida. He killed it with an axe, and it had green blood.” (Ed assures me that this is not a true story, and that his daughter Janet must have made it up.)  When Jon had a pony-tail in 4th grade, he remembered Roz commenting that “Bad boys have rat tails”.

Happy Birthday and Happy Anniversary to two true classics, Edgar and Rosalyn Katzenberg! May you continue to live in joy, peace, and in good health.

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