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Industry Greats Remembered: Porter Depiro Kallish and Elliot Prizant

April 23, 2020


Porter Depiro Kallish
Porter Depiro Kallish

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a letter from Kathy Carr Rickwood.

“During my enforced stay at home, I look the time to call former colleagues that I had lost touch with, only to find out that some had passed away. None died from COVID-19, but from other health complications.

“The first person was very near and dear to my professional career in the textile business. Porter Depiro Kallish passed away in April 2017.

“Porter started as a secretary in the 1950s at Doblin Fabrics, a jacquard upholstery mill in Paterson, New Jersey. I first met Porter while working at Schumacher in 1977, when she was the right-hand person to Arnold Doblin, the owner and president of Doblin Fabrics, then based in Morganton, North Carolina.

“Arnold passed away suddenly in 1980, and Porter was deservedly named the president of Wamsutta Doblin Fabrics, then owned by M. Lowenstein Corp. In our industry, she was ahead of her time. Back then, there were no women heading up mills. I was very fortunate to work for Doblin from 1981 with her during her reign as president.

“She was very gracious, with a great sense of style and creativity, a wonderful mentor, and a real pleasure to travel with. She left Doblin, moved to California to marry Sam Kallish, another industry veteran, where she worked as a fabric sales representative for many years for Sunbury Mills, and eventually retired from the industry in the late 1990s.

“We lost touch over the years, but her daughter, Debra Katz, told me she had a good life, splitting time between her homes in Carlsbad, California, and Mexico, with her husband Sam (now deceased) and enjoying her daughter's family, including two grandchildren. She was well respected by everyone who ever met her, and especially by the people who worked for her in New York and North Carolina.

“The second person I found out had passed away in March 2017 was Elliot Prizant, a Chicago native who was a Midwest/Southwest area sales representative for Doblin Fabrics for many years.

“Anyone who knew Elliot will never forget him. He was a real character. With many entrepreneurial ambitions, after he left our industry, he was in the hospitality home rental business in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and worked as an internet provider among other businesses in central Florida. Elliott loved traveling for business in his state-of-the-art, forty-foot Holiday Rambler motorhome. I'll never forget a  road trip I did with him and his dog in 1981 in that motor home visiting customers throughout his territory. It was a very memorable week.

“My 28 years at Doblin ran long after these two people had moved on, but the memories of that time working with them will be with me forever. May they rest in peace.”

Best regards & good health,

Kathy Carr Rickwood


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