Avery Heights has a true super-star in their midst, a vastly decorated war hero that is still going
strong at the age of 104! The Heights is pleased and honored to announce that on November
10, 2023 at 9am, decorated war hero Army Infantry Officer Morton Katz will be honored with a
Lifetime Achievement Award at their Veteran’s Day Breakfast at The Heights at Avery Heights .
Speakers will be there to celebrate Colonel Katz’s illustrious career that dates to World War II.
Avery Heights is quite aware of all the amazing people that reside in their cozy and comfortable
assisted living quarters. Colonel Katz is one of them. In his early 20’s, Katz found himself in a
parachute infantry with the US Army. It was by sheer accident that he got recruited into that
career, but eventually this led him to many heroic accomplishments far away from his native
Connecticut. His duties took place in far-flung places such as Tunisia, Naples-Foggia, Anzio,
Rome-Arno, Southern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, and Central Europe. Although by
1942 he was fully trained as a parachutist, Katz was assigned to assault the Anzio beachhead
amphibiously which he accomplished successfully, leading men alongside Lt. Col. William P.
Yarborough. There, he found a camera at the German headquarters and used this to document
the soldiers and sites encountered during WW II.
Katz then headed to Italy to clear away enemy positions in the mountains, and during the Battle
of the Bulge, Katz’s unit went to stop the German advance. All around him were heavy
casualties but just like a character in a dramatic period novel, somehow Katz survived amidst
the horrors of war. By 1945, he participated in crossing the Elbe River as the Americans
advanced into Germany. One of the highlights of Col. Katz’s military career was liberating
Wöbbelin Concentration Camp near Ludwigslust, forcing the Nazi commandant to turn over his
gun, a relic that he still has to this very day and would like to contribute to a Holocaust
Later after occupation duty in Berlin, Katz attended UCONN Law School on the GI Bill. Following
graduation, Katz remained in service and worked for 17 years at the 411th Civil Affair Company,
eventually leading the team as a commanding officer for his last eight years. Katz then worked
at the Pentagon with the Defense Intelligence Agency, later retiring with rank as Colonel. He
began to pursue his profession in law and made up for lost time as a special assistant public
defender. He married the love of his life, Shirley, and together they had two beautiful
daughters, Naomi and Rachel.
A family man, Morton beams when he discusses his daughters and grandkids. As the patriarch
of a family of women, he has learned much about what really matters in life from the lovely
ladies that surround him.
Colonel Katz is also the author of a recent book “From Parachuter to Public Defender”. This
non-stop hard-working hero only recently closed his work office having practiced law even after
turning 100. A compelling attorney, Katz has always quietly commanded the courtroom with
confidence and elan, the same way he handled the battlefield. All eyes and ears are on him as
one can’t help but feel his greatness wherever he goes.
How better to describe a life of public service than to listen to the words of (then 99-year old
public defender) Morton Katz, as quoted by Erik Ofgang in Connecticut Magazine:
Bill Englehart, Director of Avery Heights Assisted Living says: “In a community filled with
persons who have led remarkable…sometimes extraordinary… lives Morton stands out as the
brightest of lights. We are so pleased to serve Morton at this juncture in his long journey. It has
been my privilege to get to know this embodiment of the values of the Greatest
Generation, and to honor him on November 10 at our Veteran’s Day Breakfast by presenting
him with the Lifetime Service Award.”
Thank you, Colonel Katz, for your service to Connecticut and to your country. Our honored
Veteran at Avery Heights clearly has received all the treasures that life has to offer and been
blessed with exceedingly good health. Undoubtedly, Katz must have received the grace of long
life and family happiness because he has been a blessing to so many others from the
concentration camp survivors to the countless people who could not afford legal assistance and
need to call upon the public defender’s office.
Avery Heights honors Colonel Katz’s service and are proud to have him in our midst.
Avery Heights is a premier, 43-acre senior living community located in Hartford, Connecticut. As
a nonprofit organization owned and operated by Church Homes Inc., Avery Heights is
committed to providing the finest in residential living and healthcare services so that seniors
can maintain the highest level of independence. Learn more at averyheights.org