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Obituary: Madelyn Katz, 73, longtime UCLA philanthropist and volunteer

Date: 03/02/2009
Contact: Roxanne Moster ()
Phone: 310-794-0777

Madelyn "Maddie" Katz, philanthropist and former president of the UCLA Medical Center Auxiliary, died March 1 at her home in Los Angeles after a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 73.  

Katz and her husband, Ronald A. Katz, both alumni of UCLA, generously supported many initiatives at UCLA, the most recent being Operation Mend, which was created by the Katz Family Foundation. A unique partnership between Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, Operation Mend was established to help treat U.S. military personnel wounded during service in Iraq and Afghanistan.  

The project was launched by the Katzes to underscore the point that providing excellent care to injured soldiers need not be limited to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the military. The project aims to serve as a model for other medical institutions interested in helping wounded service members.  

"Maddie was so proud of Operation Mend," said her husband, a well-known inventor and a Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center board member. "It's an extraordinary collaboration between the best surgeons the military has to offer and the best surgeons in the private sector to help those who so valiantly serve our country."  

The Katz Family Foundation funds all uncovered costs associated with the project.
 
Maddie Katz enjoyed a longstanding relationship with UCLA that spanned more than 20 years. She and her husband enriched UCLA in the areas of health care, the arts, athletics and music. They recently donated $1 million to establish the Mickey Katz Endowed Chair in Jewish Music at UCLA in honor of Ron's late father, the master musician and performer, to preserve and expand the study of Jewish music on the UCLA campus.  

Katz's tenure at the helm of the UCLA Medical Center Auxiliary from 1996 to 1999 was enormously productive. One of her major accomplishments was inspired by a walk through the old UCLA Medical Center, where she saw families waiting for word about loved ones in surgery.  

"Her heart went out to them," said Dr. David Feinberg, associate vice chancellor and chief executive officer of the UCLA Hospital System. "She knew they needed a place of their own."  

Katz shared her vision with her husband, leading to a generous gift by the Katzes that created the surgical intervention waiting room at the new Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. She was thrilled when she saw the new room come to life.  

"It's private, peaceful and welcoming - just what people need when they're in that stressful situation," she said when the room was completed and opened in June 2008. "Ron surprised me by stipulating that it be called 'Maddie's Room,' and I'm proud that it bears my name."  

Katz's contributions went beyond her leadership of the UCLA Medical Center Auxiliary. She was a member of the planning committee for the new Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, which she pronounced a "superb home for UCLA's lifesaving doctors and nursing staff," and served on The UCLA Foundation Board of Governors. She also served on the board of Women & Philanthropy at UCLA and was a member of that organization for more than a decade.  

"Maddie was a remarkable spirit," said Dr. Gerald S. Levey, vice chancellor of UCLA Medical Sciences and dean of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "Her generosity to UCLA, both in her volunteerism and in her philanthropy, has been an inspiration to colleagues and friends alike. Maddie was one of the most endearing, dedicated and hard-working benefactors that I have ever had the privilege to know. The UCLA community deeply mourns her loss."  

Maddie and her husband established the Katz Family Foundation in 2002 and since then have made more than 30 major gifts to various charities.  

Madelyn Rae Guttelman was born on Dec. 2, 1935, in Sioux City, Iowa, and was a resident of Los Angeles. She is survived by her husband of 52 years, Ronald Katz; two sons, Randall Katz and Todd Katz; daughters-in-law Kathy Katz and Dana Katz; four grandchildren,
 
Hailey, Joseph, Sean and Sarah; two step-grandchildren, Gracen and Sara Evall; her sister, Helen Sinderman; and her brother-in-law, actor Joel Grey.

A special celebration of her life will be held March 16, at 7:30 p.m., at Stephen S. Wise Temple, 15500 Stephen S. Wise Dr., Los Angeles, Calif. 90077.   

In lieu of flowers, the Katz family requests that donations be made to the UCLA Hospital System Maddie Katz Fund for Operation Mend. Please make checks payable to The UCLA Foundation, include "Maddie Katz Fund" in the memo section and send to: Director of Development, UCLA Hospital System, 10945 Le Conte Ave., Suite 3132, Los Angeles, Calif. 90095-1784.

(Note to editors: Digital images are available upon request.)