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Published: Monday, 2/9/2009

Lawyer helped to build largest Midas network

Arthur Katz, 83, who with his brother established the nation's largest Midas Muffler franchise operation by first opening shops in Toledo and Akron more than 50 years ago, died Friday.

Mr. Katz died at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center in Florida of complications from two surgeries in the span of several months, according to his son-in-law Scott Rothstein. The first of those surgeries - in August - was in response to stomach cancer.

Mr. Katz's brother, Calvin Katz, who, like Arthur, was a Toledo attorney and worked with him to build the family's vast stable of Midas franchises, died in 2006.

At one time the Katzes owned between 150 and 160 shops. Mr. Rothstein said they still own 106 shops, making them the country's largest Midas franchisee.

Mr. Rothstein said Mr. Katz continued to work until he became too sick over the summer.

"The man would come into work every day," Mr. Rothstein said. "He would say, 'We don't retire.' He's from a different generation in terms of dedication and work ethic. He loved his job."

The Katzes went into business with Midas' founder, Nate Sherman, when they opened their first shop in Akron in 1956. Soon after, they opened their first Toledo shop.

Mr. Katz was a graduate of Woodward High School and was honorably discharged from the Navy in 1946. After serving his country, he attended John Carroll University and then Ohio State University's college of law.

His affiliation with Ohio State was a point of gentle contention in the family. Calvin Katz completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan.

"In the office lunchroom, one side of the wall was covered with sports pages of all Michigan headlines, and the other side was all Ohio State," Mr. Rothstein said. "They always had an ongoing rivalry. It was an intense rivalry of love."

Mr. Katz was most proud of his family and of his memberships in Congregation B'nai Israel, Etz Chaim Synagogue, and Chabad House of Toledo, Mr. Rothstein said. The Katz brothers played a prominent role in building the new B'nai Israel temple.

In his younger days, Mr. Katz was known locally as an avid handball player. He also was fond of making hot, spicy pickles, jarring them, and giving them to friends.

Surviving are his wife, Janet Katz; daughters Laney Becker, Sheila Rothstein, and Marci Ungar; sister Elaine Apelbaum, and seven grandchildren.

A funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. today at Temple B'nai Israel in Sylvania. Arrangements are being handled by Wick Funeral Home on Reynolds Road.

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