Benjamin Katz, 80, a retired Navy rear admiral who won the Navy Cross and other decorations as skipper of the destroyer Taylor in the Pacific in World War II, died of cancer Feb. 24 at the Hospice of Northern Virginia.
Adm. Katz, who lived in Alexandria, was born in Lithuania. He came to the United States as a child and grew up in Connecticut and Massachusetts. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis in 1926. He retired from the Navy in 1957 and in 1958 received a master's degree in engineering administration from George Washington University.
During World War II, the future admiral commanded a destroyer on convoy duty in the North Atlantic. In 1942, he was named captain of the Taylor and sailed her into the South Pacific. He took part in the campaign for the Solomon Islands, including an action in which he led a task group to pick up survivors from the cruiser Helena who were stranded on the Japanese-held island of Vella Lavella.
For his work during this period, Adm. Katz received the Navy Cross, the Navy's highest decoration for valor except for the Medal of Honor; the Silver Star; the Legion of Merit; the Bronze Star, and the Navy Unit Citation.
Later in the war, he commanded the Rocky Mount, the flagship of the 7th Fleet in the Southwest Pacific.
Postwar assignments included command of a destroyer squadron in the Pacific Fleet and various posts as a communications officer. Adm. Katz was communications officer of Pacific Fleet Headquarters in Pearl Harbor and then deputy director of the office of communications-electronics of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the post he held at his retirement.
After leaving the Navy, Adm. Katz was an official of IMC Systems Inc. and an adviser to other firms. He retired a second time about 1970.
Adm. Katz was the author of two books on small businesses and a handbook for survivors of deceased persons, called "Now Is The Time To Prepare: A Guide For Your Survivor."
Adm. Katz was a director of the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Salvation Army Advisory Board and the Advisory Committee to the Alexandria Superintendent of Schools on vocational training. He also was a member of the Golden Age Hall of Fame of the National Alliance of Senior Citizens.
Survivors include his wife, Beulah, of Alexandria; two daughters, Susan Katz Clark of Washington, and Mildred K. Sams of Greensboro, N.C.; two sisters, Pearl K. Wise and Ruth K. Margolin, and a brother, Abraham Katz, all of Cambridge, Mass., and one grandson.