Shirley Rita Katz

July 5, 1928 ~ March 1, 2020 (age 91)


Shirley Rita Katz, of Storrs, CT, died peacefully at the age of 91 years on March 1, 2020 after many years of congestive heart failure, at the Mansfield Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Storrs, CT. Born on July 5, 1928 in St. Paul, Minnesota, Shirley was the daughter of the late Al and Minnie Robbins. She grew up in Albert Lea, Minnesota where she liked to go fishing with her brother at the lake.

She met her husband Lewis while they were both studying at the University of Minnesota. They got to know each other when they went to people's homes to collect money for the State of Israël and were invited in for coffee. She was strongly committed to her marriage and was a good wife for 68 years! Her grandmother would use the term "bashert" which means "meant to be". Shirley felt that meeting Lewis was Bashert!

She was a devoted wife and mother. Shirley moved to Storrs with her husband, and eldest daughter in the Fall of 1952. She was very active, volunteering in the community and when her daughters were grown, she went back to school. She was very inspired by her grandmother, Zlate Rivka Svidelsky, a pillar in the community, who she was named after. She talked about her often and this is where her great desire to serve in the community came from. 

Shirley received a Master’s degree in history with distinction at Trinity College in Hartford in 1979, earned a Certification in Gerontology from UConn. as well as a Certification as a Paralegal Legal Assistant. She worked on the Board of the Eastern CT Area Agency on Aging for 10 years and was president of the Board of Directors. She was appointed to the State Council on Aging in 1992, was Chair of the Mansfield Commission on Aging for six years during which a proposal for a sidewalk on Route 275 from the Senior Center into town (Route 195) was realized, with the support of the Town Council in 1989. Shirley served as Secretary and Treasurer of the Windham Mental Health Council, was on the Regional Community Council Board, and the Windham Regional Federated Services for Older American's Board. She served as President of the Mansfield Branch of the Auxiliary to Windham hospital.

Shirley served as President of the Manchester Chapter of Hadassah from 1990-1992, along with serving on the CT Region of Hadassah Board -attending the rally in 1987 for Soviet Jews in Washington D.C. and the National Convention in Israël in 1991 where she rode a camel in the desert.

She was active with the League of Women Voters and participated in a State Council on Human Services Study in 1974, Chaired the Human Services Committee, Public Safety and Fair Representation Studies as well as taking part in Social Welfare and Energy Studies.  She was the LWV Legislative Action Chair, Finance Chair, Program Vice President and First Vice President. Shirley was the Northwest School PTO Membership Chair, President of the Mansfield Garden Gate Club and the Women's Club, and was elected and served many, many years on the Mansfield Zoning Board of Appeals.

She was ambitious, fun loving and sociable, a world traveler, an avid gardener, a good baker and cook and could sew beautiful doll clothes. She had a strong will, and could be stubborn, had an enormous amount of resilience and ability to adapt and persevere. Many people called her a "tough cookie" as she had been through many illnesses, operations and an almost fatal car accident. She enjoyed fireworks, parties, flowers, reading, dancing and music.

Her family appreciates the wonderful care she received while residing at the Mansfield Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, that the very kind and dedicated staff made her feel safe and helped her to go to the music programs, bingo, and other activities that she loved.

Along with her husband, she was predeceased by her sister, Brenda (Robbins) Gould. Shirley is survived by her daughters, Susan (Katz) Mosler and her husband Seth, of New York, NY and Deborah Katz and her husband Mark Leijen of the Netherlands; her granddaughter Rachel (Mosler) Cope and her husband, Nick of Brooklyn, NY and great-grandchildren Willow and River Cope. She is also survived by her brother, Ed Robbins and his wife Jovita of Lakeside, CA; her sister-in-law Ozzie Nogg and her husband Don of Omaha NE; her brother-in-law, Michael Katz and his wife Betsey of Highland Park, IL, as well as her nieces, Arina Ferdig, Bonnie Gould, Helen Boutorwick and cousins, Berylann Strada and Janice Sheppard and her husband's cousins, Fern Badzin and Becky Evan-Zohar.

A Funeral Service will be held on Friday, March 6, 2020 at 10:00am at Temple Beth Sholom B'nai Israël, 400 Middle Turnpike East, Manchester, CT. Burial will follow in Beth Sholom Memorial Park in Manchester, where Shirley will be laid to rest next to her husband. 

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Mansfield Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, 100 Warren Circle, Storrs, CT 06268 or to Temple Beth Sholom B'nai Israël, 400 Middle Turnpike East, Manchester, CT 06040 or to other worthy causes. To leave a memory for the family, please visit

Funeral Service


Funeral Service
March 6, 2020

10:00 AM
Beth Sholom B'nai Israel
400 Middle Turnpike East
Manchester, CT 06040

Burial Following Services

Beth Sholom Memorial Park Cemetery, Manchester
East St, Manchester
Manchester, CT 06040

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