Goodbye, My Friend: Daryl Katz Tribute
Welcome everyone. Thanks for being here, and special thanks to Emily and her husband Dave for hosting this celebration of the life of our dearly departed friend, father, and ex-husband, Daryl Jennings Williams Katz.
It is with great sadness, yet at the same time with much honor, that I stand here before you today to talk a bit about one amazing person who touched all of our lives in one way or another – whether it be personally as family, as a neighbor at the house on DeKalb Pike, through playing music, being a classmate, or from one of the endless careers he had. There is so much to say about this charismatic, comical, caring and charming individual, that it is hard to know where to start. So, I will start at the beginning.
Daryl was born on June 7, 1953, and his parents were Eileen and Jennings “Bill” Williams. At that time Eileen was almost 28-years-old, and she had been a dancer. Bill, at age 53, was 25 years older than Eileen, and he was, according to neighbor Frank Tyson, “a hard worker who worked during the week and built the house at 330 W. DeKalb on weekends while they lived in a mobile home on the site.” Two years later, Daryl’s sister Michelle was born, and the two kids grew up in the small family house with the huge front yard. Frank – whose sister Toni is here today – remembers Bill Williams as “a great carpenter, and he built a dance studio next to the house for Eileen to use to teach students.” Frank recalls the Williams family “in the little house on the hill was a strong and memorable family unit.” But tragedy struck a few years later when Bill Williams died in 1956 of a heart attack, shortly before his 56th birthday.
Somehow, Eileen and her two children forged on, and she supported her family by teaching hundreds of kids how to dance at Michelle’s Dance Studio. Some years later she remarried to a man named Seymour Katz, who became Daryl and Michelle’s step-father, and this is where they got the last name of Katz. Daryl and Michelle went to nearby Candlebrook Elementary School, and then on to Upper Merion High School.
My first memory of Daryl was seeing him driving his 1963 Chevy Impala around the high school parking lot at Upper Merion in 1971. Only cool guys – and I was not part of that crowd – had nice cars back then. Daryl was a year ahead of me in school, and I knew that the car had belonged to Billy Walker. Billy’s brother Jimmy was in my class. I thought it was odd that someone else was now driving Billy’s car, but someone told me that this “Daryl Katz guy bought it from Billy.” As it turns out, earlier Billy had purchased the car from Daryl’s next-door neighbor, Michael Capaldo, whose brother Johnny is here today.
Fast forward to one year later, in January of 1972. My brother Terry was working at the Acme at the King of Prussia Plaza, and he introduced me to two of his co-workers – Daryl Katz and Victor Verdi. Daryl played drums, Victor played lead guitar, and they were putting a band together with a singer named Lee Makowski. And they needed a bass player. So, I went over to Daryl’s house one night, and we all met in his mother’s dance studio. Terry and his friend Jack Griffith were there, and they played maracas and tambourine. We played a few songs, and suddenly The Flying Garbanzo Bean Express was formed. While stocking shelves at the Acme, Daryl had come across some garbanzo beans in cans, and he thought the name “garbanzo” was funny. At that time, there was a professional band called The Flying Burrito Brothers, so he borrowed part of their name and added “garbanzo.” There was a talent show coming up at Mother of Divine Providence church, and someone got us a slot on the show. We learned four songs to play. Naïve kids that we were, one of the songs was “Sympathy for the Devil” by the Rolling Stones, which, in hindsight, was a very odd choice to play at a catholic event! We also played “Midnight Rambler” by the Stones, “Beginnings” by Chicago, and my world debut as a singer and band member was “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash, a song I still sing today. Even though the band only stayed together for a few months, it was the start of my musical career. More importantly, it was the beginning of a 46-year year friendship with Daryl, who encouraged me to sing and be the best player that I could be. I can only wonder where my musical path would have taken me if I had never gone over to his house that first night…
Even though some of the other band members moved on, Daryl and I soon became good friends, and we hung out while jamming quite a bit with other players during that time, including the late Bill Peacock, who was in Daryl’s first band in high school, which was called The Magic Bubble. On occasion we also would make late-night trips down to Somers Point at the shore, where the drinking age was 18. We’d start at the Anchorage, where you could get seven glasses of beer for a dollar, and after they closed at 2 a.m., we’d go over to the Dunes, a club that didn’t open until after midnight but was able to stay open all until dawn. After watching the band play, we’d then drive back home, arriving as the sun was coming up. Other times we’d stay local and go to Johnny Kamuca’s Valley Forge Tavern in the King. Daryl somehow knew Johnny – whose son Juan is here today and who we all got to know years later – and we’d drink beer while eating Miami cheese steaks, even though neither of us was 21 yet. Or we’d go for drives around the area in his 1970 red Fiat 124 convertible.
In the fall of 1972 we were both taking classes in college, he at Montgomery County Community College, and me at a local Penn State branch campus. After I finished my two-year stint there and he at Montco, I talked him into going up to Penn State, and we both left home for the first time on March 1, 1974, moving up to State College (with his dog Earl in tow) in his blue and white 1966 Volkswagen bus, where we became roommates while living outside of town in an apartment called “Sunglow.” The guy we rented from was named Dr. Sun, and the apartment was adjacent to Sun’s business office, which was called Sunglow. Dr. Sun, a professor at the university, was from China, but he was also a notorious slumlord in town. Before long, to make some money on the side, Daryl – talented guy that he was with his hands – started doing some handyman repair work for Sun. When the doctor would call on the phone for Daryl, in his Chinese accent he would ask, “Can I speak with Mistah Keetz?” And this is how Daryl earned the nickname “Geetz.” Which, years later, morphed into another nickname, “Mr. Getez.”
Speaking of nicknames, I credit Daryl with establishing mine back in the day, and which I still use today. He called me by my initials, “L.C.,” but he’d pronounce it fast, and it would come out sounding like “Elsie,” as in Elsie the Cow, who was a mascot for Borden’s Dairy.
We had some good times up the college, partying and jamming with some newfound musicians, some of which I am still friends with today. Since there was no Dunes nightclub to go to up there, another crazy late-night tradition was created by Daryl: we’d get some takeout beer, pile a bunch of guys in his VW bus – which was hardly a four-wheel-drive, off-road vehicle – and go riding on the fire roads in the mountains. These became known as “smoke rides,” and it’s a wonder that we never broke down or got pulled over by forestry service! A little less than a year a later, Joe Lawler came up to join us for a short while in State College, so we moved to a bigger place that we aptly named “Moonglow.” We formed a band, and along with a female singer named Nancy Stetler, we played a few gigs as The DiNucchi Brothers, a name that Joe came up with. At Daryl’s urging, on Wednesday nights at the house we’d invite some friends over for “Hump Night” parties, where we would drink beer and shoot darts. As the saying goes, “Those were the days.”
Around this time, I saw an ad in a record store that a good band in town called Sunday Drive was looking for a drummer, and I told Daryl about this. He got in touch, and he soon became their drummer. They were writing and playing original songs, and they were quite good. They wanted to try to do something with their music, so in late spring of 1975 they moved together to Philly, and that was the end of Daryl’s time in State College. I stayed up there to finish school, and so with the distance, we no longer saw each other on a regular basis. But every time that I would come back to the King of Prussia area to visit my parents, Daryl and I would hang out.
A few years later, in 1979, I moved west to San Francisco, where I have been ever since, so I would see Daryl even less, as I would go back to visit once or twice a year. But we stayed in touch, and the friendship was never in doubt. He wasn’t much of a letter writer, and this was long before email and texting. But whenever I did come back, we’d just pick up where we left off from the last time I was there.
While I love living out on the West Coast, one of the drawbacks of being so far away was that I missed out on all his weddings (to Annalie, Emily and Jenny), the passing of his sister Michelle from breast cancer in her ‘30s, as well as knowing his sons Jaz and Caio.
Daryl was quite the Renaissance Man, as he went through an endless series of jobs and careers. Besides being an excellent drummer, I remember him also as a Good Humor Ice Cream truck driver, a construction worker, a chimney sweep, a honey-dipper, a chef, a sandwich shop owner, and an organic vegetable farmer. I am sure that I am forgetting some other jobs that he did, and perhaps others here today will fill in the gaps.
The last time I saw him was in July of 2013, on one of my visits back in the area. A few months later he moved down to Florida to help take care of his ageing mother and step-father, who had moved down there many years before. Seymour died at age 93 in the spring 2016, and Eileen soon followed in September of that year at age 91.
Although I had not heard much from him while he was in Florida, after his parents were gone there were rumors that he might be coming back to his house in Glenmoore. He finally did return a few days before Christmas in 2017. I sent him a text on December 21st asking where he was. He wrote back, “Just got home to Glenmoore early Wednesday a.m. Unloading, ugh! Too old for dis shit.” I then asked if he had the dart board up yet, and he replied, “First thing on the list!”
A few days later, during a frigid cold snap back here, I sent him a photo of the weather forecast where I live – it was 60 degrees and sunny on December 30th – and his reply was, “F U. It’s f’in freezing here…after being in FL for 4 years…too old I guess.” Then on New Year’s Eve I sent him a funny photo of him and Juan Kamuca from many years ago, where they both look like aliens, and with a caption that says, “Greetings from Pennsylvania.” On New Year’s Day I got a reply from him that said “LOL…happy happy.” And that was my last contact with him, as he was gone nine days later.
I was glad to know that Daryl was back in PA, and I was looking forward to seeing him for the first time in five years on my annual July visit back to the area. Well, I am now back here sooner than expected, and while Daryl is indeed here today (in ashes and) in spirit, I still expect him to come walking through the door any minute in typical Daryl Katz fashion – late for his own memorial!
Daryl – as is obvious by the amount of people here today and the stories that you will hear – touched the lives of many over the course of his all-too-short lifetime. He was a big part of my life in my formative years, I considered him one of my closest friends, and I always enjoyed seeing him on my visits east. It is still hard to believe that he is now gone.
But one thing is for certain: my life has been forever enriched for having had Daryl as a lifelong friend.
Rest in peace, Daryl Jennings Williams Katz…
So goodbye my friend
I know I'll never see you again
But the time together through all the years
Will take away these tears
It's okay now, goodbye my friend
You can go now, goodbye my friend
From “Goodbye My Friend,” by Karla Bonoff
Daryl Katz (June 7, 1953 – January 10, 2018)
Eileen Katz (August 27, 1925 – October 19, 2016)
Jennings Williams (1900-1956)
Seymour Katz (February 14, 1923 – March 6, 2016)
Michelle Katz (1955 – mid 1980s)
Renaissance Man: A Tribute to John Cooke
November 4, 2017
We are here to tell stories, to laugh, cry and celebrate the life of an extraordinary man - writer, musician, filmmaker, actor, Red Sox fan, road manager, photographer, friend to many, and son of a famous father.
I first met John in 1996, at a Thanksgiving dinner at Judy and Peter Mollica’s, which was late, compared to everyone else here. I had heard a lot about him: a bit quirky, sometimes demanding and difficult, and very honest. But liked him from the start, and we ended up bonding over the years. There would be calls or texts about baseball games, “Game of Thrones,” music, or just to see how things were going. In the later years, he would stay at Claudia’s. We’d go for daily walks around Mill Valley, and more than once we hiked up the Dipsea Steps.
I met so many people through him; many of you here today I know because of John.
He educated me on all things Janis Joplin. I was never a fan of hers, but after hearing the stories and reading John’s book, how could I not be now? And to think that John’s life was turned upside down when he found her dead at age 27 on the day before his 30th b-day…
Claudia and I took road trips twice to Jackson, WY, in 2011 and 2012. The first one was to visit various friends along the way, and the second was to attend a wedding about an hour away from Jackson. John had us play a featured set at the Dornan’s Monday Night Hoot, and we also sang with him there.
Whenever John was around, there were many dinners out in local restaurants, often followed by pie and ice cream back at the house. He loved to eat, yet amazingly so, he remained rail thin.
The last time I spoke with him was on Friday, August 18, a few days before the eclipse. I had not heard from him in a while, so I gave him a call. He was very excited about the eclipse, but I also asked about his health. He told me that the recent scan was not good news, but it was just another speed bump on the road to recovery, and that he would deal with it after the eclipse.
Another week went by with no more news, so I told Claudia to call him, since I was concerned about the scan news. She spoke with him on Tuesday the 29th, and he told her that he was going in for treatment soon. While we were both very concerned, John remained optimistic.
But then the call came on Sunday morning, September 3rd, with the sad news that he was gone…
He would have loved to have been here today, to eat, drink and play music, and be with friends. He is certainly here in spirit.
There will always be a little bit of John Byrne Cooke in all of us…
He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother: A Tribute to Terry Carlin
November 21, 2015
Dear family, friends, and neighbors: We're gathered here today to say goodbye to a gentle and caring man, my brother, Terry Carlin. He has left us much too young, at the age of 64, and it’s with great sadness that we realize that he is now gone from us forever.
He led a rather simple life, as he never strayed too far or lived more than 20 miles away from where he was born, in August of 1951, just outside of Philadelphia. He was the second oldest of the five Carlin siblings and just two-and-a-half years older than me – and we were close to the same size – so I inherited many clothes from him over years. As I speak I am wearing one of his belts and a tie as a tribute to the things we shared over the years.
Somewhere along the way during our youth he ended up with the nickname of “Hobbs.” According to family lore, this name came from one of his neighborhood friends, and many of you here today knew him by this title. While he never introduced himself or signed anything as “Hobbs,” he never seemed to mind being called this.
When he was a teen, he started working at the A&P and then moved on to the Acme in King of Prussia, where he worked for about 10 years. In 1974 he graduated from Villanova University and spent his career as an accountant. He was always good with numbers, and he worked for a few different companies over the decades while also becoming the president of his local AA chapter and of the homeowners association where he lived in Paoli. But most importantly, he did my taxes for me for about 20 years. And, he always refused my payment for his services. One year, however, he did let me purchase for him, online, the Brenda Lee Anthology CD set.
Speaking of music, while Terry never played any instruments, he was a big music fan, and he amassed quite a collection of albums, cassettes and CDs. I don’t think I ever told him such, but he inadvertently affected my musical career in a profound way. In 1973 he purchased his one – and for all I know only – bluegrass album, and it was a three-disc set called Will the Circle Be Unbroken. At that time I was playing rock and roll, but for reasons unknown, I fell in love with that recording, and my musical direction changed as a result of hearing it. Heaven only knows how different my life would have been if Terry had never bought the Circle records. For this, I am forever grateful.
He loved the game of baseball. When Marty and I were in our teens, Terry organized softball games that took place on the three summer holidays at the ball field in Bob White Farms, and these games became affectionately known as the “Hobbs’ Annuals.” We had some great times playing those games, and they continued until we were in our 30s. There was even some talk of trying to pull together a Hobbs Memorial Game for this coming Thanksgiving Day, but the weather, and our ages, may not be very agreeable for doing such.
A trait that our father passed on to Terry was that he was a huge fan of the Phillies. He watched, or at least listened to, most of their games over the past decades. When the team won the World Series in 2008, the first call I made – within seconds of the final out – was to him. It was a great moment to share together. In later years he enjoyed going to watch his nephews and nieces playing on their various sports teams, and he was a big fan of the Villanova basketball team.
As for the Carlin family, while he never had children of his own, he was godfather to nieces Rachael Bullock and Meghan Carlin. He never forgot their birthdays, nor did he forget Christmas for these girls. He was everyone’s favorite uncle, and he adored all of the kids.
He also loved going down to the shore. For the last 20+ years, he never missed going down there for at least one day. This past July, when I was back visiting from California, even though he seldom left Paoli and was not feeling that well due to the cancer treatments, we took a one-day road trip down to Ocean City, Maryland, to visit nieces Katelynn, who was working for the police department for the season. Her mother Donna and her sister Rachael were also there visiting. I am not much of a shore person, and I had not been down to the beach since 1987. But when the invitation came to make a trip for the day, I did not hesitate. It was a long, 280 mile roundtrip, but I will forever cherish being able to spend such quality time with him which, in hindsight, turned out to be our last outing together.
As for his favorite snacks, anyone that was close to him knows how much he loved Wawa coffee, donuts, Stewarts root beer, and Milk Duds.
But the thing that my siblings and I are most grateful for was how he took care of our late mother for so many years. He moved back in with her in the early ‘90s, and without him being there, Mom would have had to move into an assisted living facility years before she passed. He drove her to church, shopping, doctor appointments, and everywhere else. After she had a stroke in December of 2010, Terry went to visit her every single day until she died in March of 2012. He was truly devoted to our mother, as well as to her dog Mitzi, who also became the canine love of his life. Mitzi, eerily so, sadly went on to Doggie Heaven about a year ago after coming down with a cancerous tumor.
But on July 3rd of 2014, without any warning, Terry suffered a seizure, and a week later he had the first of three surgeries to remove cancerous tumors from his brain. He also went through a round of radiation as well as multiple rounds of chemo. He fought the long, hard fight, until his body could not take it anymore.
Brother Jim reminded me this morning that our Dad’s favorite charity back in the day was Boys Town, Nebraska. Their logo featured two young boys, with one being carried on the back of the other. And the slogan for Boys Town – which was similar to the title of a hit song by The Hollies – was “He ain’t heavy, Father…he’s m’brother.” No truer words have ever been said…
On behalf of my siblings and his many nieces and nephews, I want to thank everyone for their outpouring of love and support for my brother Terry. While his loss is very painful to all of us right now, his memory, spirit, and the good times we all had together, will be with us forever.
A Feline Farewell
It is with great sadness in my heart that I must inform you that I had to put down my cat Woofie yesterday. It goes without saying that I have had happier birthdays...
Exactly one month shy of 15 years, he was diagnosed with Squamous Cell Carcinoma under his tongue about three weeks back. He had been drooling a bit, so I took him to the vet thinking that he had an abscess or some other treatable ailment. To my shock and horror, I was told that he had this cancer, and that the prognosis was not good. Soon he could not eat dry food, and he also turned up his nose to canned cat food. I started giving him real tuna and canned salmon. Then someone suggested I feed him baby food, and for the first two weeks he went crazy over this. But over the weekend he ate less and less, he was losing weight, and on Monday afternoon he started bleeding in his mouth, so the decision was made to send him off to Kittyland.
Some of you never met him, and those of you who did found that he could be skittish around strangers. But with me he was forever loving and affectionate, and I have 15 years of memories to cherish. He would greet me at the door of the house when I came home, as he knew the sound of both cars (the company car and my van). Before opening the door, I would see his orange-colored six-toed feet under the blinds, and I would hear him meowing "Hello!" He would sleep in my bed with me, he usually came running when I called his name, and I would hear the happy-feet sounds of his extra claws clicking on the floor.
Taking Woof to the vet yesterday was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. He was one special friend, and I miss him dearly. At the same time, he had a good, long life, and he is now out of pain. Still, the empty feeling inside will be tough to overcome.
All of us have gone through this situation at one time or another, some of you quite recently. So, I am not telling you something you don't already know. Since most of us have never had children, our pets sometimes can be our surrogate kids. And there is nothing like the unquestionable love and devotion from our four-legged little pals.
Life goes on, but memories live on forever. There will be other furry feline friends in my life, and in time the wounded heart will heal. I want to thank all of you who knew about this coming end for sending notes of support. And special thanks go out to Claudia, who was of the utmost help through this most trying of times. I don't know how I would have gotten through this without her love and assistance.