Earl L. “Buddy” Katz, chairman of Encore Shoe Corp. and manufacturer for Zodiac USA, passed away in his sleep on March 4, 2018. He was 99.
Katz got his start in the footwear industry during his service with the US Army during WWII as a footwear buyer for his battalion. After the war, Jack Sandler, from the New England shoe manufacturer Sandler of Boston, asked him if he wanted to go into the shoe business.
Katz went on to start Encore Shoe Corp. in 1962, making shoes for labels such as Pappagallo and Capezio. He eventually started his own brand, Zodiac USA, a company which would later become a pioneer in placing computerized decorative Western stitching on boots.
The family suggests that donations in Katz’s memory should be made to the Two Ten Footwear Foundation or to a charity of your choice.
Katz is survived by his children — James Katz, Ronald Katz and Jody Skaff — and his beloved grandchildren.