Jocelyn Stern Katz
Raised so far
Jocelyn Arlene Katz, daughter of Allan and Donni Stern, mother to Amanda and Jordana Katz, sister to Marlene Stern (Peter Rae) and Susan Stern who predeceased her in 1997, tragically passed away Feb 9, 2017 at her home in Toronto.
Jocelyn grew up in Winnipeg, spent summers at the family cottage, Lake of the Woods, ON—one of her happiest places—moved to Toronto in 1979, obtained her BA at York University, worked in sales, and married Benjy Katz in 1991. They were together nearly 18 years, first living in Toronto, then Hamilton (where their daughters were born), later Winnipeg and finally Hamilton. In 2015, she moved to Toronto.
She was intelligent, curious, gregarious, playful, warm, inclusive, and an active volunteer. She delivered countless acts of loving kindness to family, friends and strangers, made a party better and made everyone around her feel happy. She was a role model for saying “yes” more than “no.”
Most importantly, Jocelyn devoted her life to being an amazing mother. She always thought of her daughters first—from what to make them for breakfast or put in their scavenger hunt, to where their next adventure might take them. She had a lust for fun and a craving for discovering the undiscovered. Each day was different as she dragged them, sometimes excitedly, but just as often reluctantly, to a new neighbourhood, gallery, event, restaurant, park, or city. Her disregard for the schedule could be annoying as she endeavoured to expose them to the biggest and the best of what was available. Yet, it instilled in them the desire to stop and look around, to appreciate the small things and embrace what the world has to offer. She shaped them into the people they are, and the people they have yet to become.
Her sense of adventure extended to her palate. Renowned among family and friends as a master home cook, every day revolved around food; where to eat it or what to cook. Her interest in cooking created a sense of family in the kitchen together. If there were extras after a restaurant meal or event, she always went out of her way to give the food to someone that needed it more.
Despite all her gifts, Jocelyn struggled to find internal peace, to believe in herself as the great mother, daughter, sister, niece, cousin, and friend we all knew her to be. Bipolar disorder can be a life-threatening disease, like heart disease or stroke. It is an assault on the brain, not a reflection of a weak character. Jocelyn so wanted to be OK and often felt there was something wrong with her character. At times she experienced paranoid chatter, which medication didn’t fix. Tragically, the chatter overcame her. She did not want to leave us; she was taken by an unfair illness.
There are things that we don’t want to happen but have to accept, things we don’t want to know but have to learn, and people we can’t live without and have to let go. We know we must carry on and live life to the fullest for Jocelyn, she would expect nothing less.
The impact of your support
In Jocelyn’s memory, her family invite you to support the Jocelyn Stern Katz Memorial Fund. Funds raised will support the work of Erin Michalak and CREST.BD at UBC, who Jocelyn’s family believe are doing some of the best research into bipolar disorder in Canada.
CREST.BD is dedicated to collaborative research and knowledge exchange in bipolar disorder. Your gift will pay tribute to Jocelyn, by supporting research that is optimizing the health and quality of life of people living with the condition and empowering communities to engage in bipolar disorder research.