March 13, 2019: Rudolph V. Schoenecker, whose career spanned both retail and wholesale, died on Jan. 30. He was 82.
He began his career as president of Carl A. Biwer and Westowne Shoes Inc., which operated 13 family shoe stores and leased departments and Naturalizer locations. He went on to serve as president of the Northwest Shoe Retailers Association, holding the post from 1984 to 1990.
Upon retiring, Schoenecker returned to the industry from 1995 to 2006 as an account representative for Ros Hommerson, covering the Northern U.S.
He is survived by his wife, Barbara, six children and 12 grandchildren.
Memorials in honor of Schoenecker can be made to Marquette University High School in Milwakuee; Angels Grace Hospice in Oconomowoc, Wis., and the Two Ten Footwear Foundation.
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.