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Phyllis Kafka

1933 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Phyllis Kafka Obituary
DR. PHYLLIS "PHILLIPA" KAFKA Dr. Phillipa Kafka passed away suddenly on Oct. 1, 2017. Born Phyllis Joyce Krotenberg in Brooklyn, NY on March 22, 1933 to Morris and Gladys Krotenberg. Known to her family as Dolly, she spent her youth in the South Bronx and many summers at Jewish holiday camps in the Catskills. After attending Hunter College High School she moved with her family to Tucson, AZ and graduated from Tucson High School in 1951. She attended college in Greenwich Village and received her bachelor's degree from New York University, working full time, attending nights and summers, paying her own way and graduating in four years. She earned her M.A. in 1957 and her Ph.D. in 1964, both in English Literature, from the NYU Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. She married Irving Holzschlag in 1958, and lived in Columbia, SC; Memphis, TN; Brooklyn, NY; Franklin, NJ; Livingston, NJ and Maplewood, NJ. In 1969, she became an Assistant Professor at Kean University. In 1977, after divorce, she changed her name to Phyllis Joyce Kafka (adopting the maiden name of her paternal grandmother), although she called herself Phillipa Kafka. She published many essays and six full-length works of multi-cultural feminist literary criticism. She was an ardent second wave feminist, scholar and activist, participated in many marches, was a founding mother of the Central New Jersey Chapter of NOW, and established the Women's Studies department at Kean. She retired in 1999 as a full professor and was awarded the title of Professor Emerita. She met Oliver Kenen in July 1981, when they were both assisting at EST. They have lived together happily as a married couple ever since. They retired to Boulder City in 1999. Together they restored historic houses in Belmar, NJ; South Orange, NJ; Lake Elsinore, CA and Boulder City. In addition, they have participated in the restoration of more than a dozen other houses with her two sons. She remained a lover of literature, reading over 300 books in the last two years. A former athlete, she delighted in exercise and dancing, and at the end she was still doing about three hours of chair Zumba a week. Over the past few years her health declined, but she remained energetic and positive enjoying life at her home overlooking Lake Mead. She was predeceased by her brother Stanley Krotenberg. She is survived by her three children from her first marriage, Molly Holzschlag, Morris Kafka, and Linus Kafka.
Published in Boulder City Review on Oct. 19, 2017
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