Having lived a life filled with gratitude for God’s blessings, Richard Aziz Katen, “Dick”, went home to God on May 10 in Princeton. He was 93.
The son of loving parents Aziz Katen and Olga Haddad Katen, Dick grew up in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn and attended Fort Hamilton High School. He was drafted immediately after graduation to serve in the U.S. Army in Italy during World War II. After the war, he earned a degree in business administration from Syracuse University, where he was a member of the international business honor society. He then further served his country as a first lieutenant in the Air Force in Korea and Japan during the Korean War.
In 1955 he married Jeanne Marie Borab and they were married for 66 years. They liked to say they met before they were even born. Their grandparents from both sides were founders of the Fourth Avenue Presbyterian Church in Bay Ridge, so Dick and Jeanne grew up in the church. After Dick returned from Korea, they were married.
Dick began his career in retail in the management training program of Abraham & Strauss. With his family that now included a baby daughter, he searched for the best possible location to both open a business and raise a family. He chose Princeton, and with his closest friend, opened Home Décor in the Princeton Shopping Center in 1957. For the next thirty years, until the store closed in 1987, shoppers were drawn not just by lovely home furnishings, but by the kind and loving man that would light up the room and put a smile on every face.
Dick was a loyal member of Nassau Presbyterian Church, where he served as both a deacon and an elder. He served on the board of the Princeton Cemetery for more than 25 years, was president of the Princeton Lions Club, volunteered at the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen, and was an active member of the Old Guard of Princeton, the Nassau Club, and Mercer Investors. He was particularly proud to have served on the board of the Crisis Ministry (now Arm in Arm), where he played a key role in transforming the food pantry operation to a store-model, enabling clients to shop and make their own grocery selections.
For more than 36 years, Dick and Jeanne spent their winters in Florida, where Dick was a volunteer pastoral visitor at Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale. Always quick with a joke and a kind word, he brought comfort and love to staff and patients and made hospital life a little easier.
Dick enjoyed traveling, reading, and following the markets. Most of all he enjoyed spending time with his family. He was a beloved husband, father, and grandfather. He is survived by his beloved wife Jeanne Borab Katen, daughter BJ and son-in-law William Katen-Narvell, granddaughters Alexandra, Victoria, and Elizabeth Katen-Narvell, and many nieces and nephews who held him dear. He is predeceased by his elder sisters Violet Miller, Laurice Freda, and Florence Traboulsi.