Floral 11

Kay Itzkow Podem

December 17, 1936 ~ March 24, 2022 (age 85)


Harriet Kay Itzkow Behr Podem, 85, a Dothan, Alabama, resident for the past 62 years, passed away Thursday morning, March 24, 2022.

Kay was born on December 17, 1936, in Augusta, Georgia, to Isadore and Ida Itzkow.  

Her parents brought her home to Thomson, Georgia, to the house her grandfather Reuben Kunnes, built in 1918.  It was a happy family home filled with her two sisters, Ellen and Susan, her aunt, Pearl Kunnes, and her grandparents, Annie and Reuben. The home was a source of both love and comfort to Kay, as well as inspiration for many gardening and interior design projects she would pursue in her homes in Dothan.

For college, Kay travelled an hour north of her childhood home to Athens, Georgia, to attend the University of Georgia. There she earned her degree in Business Administration and became a member of Sigma Delta Tau sorority, where she made lifelong friends she cherished until the end of her days.

While in Athens, Kay met Jake Behr of Lagrange, GA, whom she married on September 6, 1959. Soon after, Kay and Jake moved to Dothan. They began their family with the birth of their first child, Reisha, in 1961. Two years later they moved to make room for their first son, Jeffrey. Five years later, they completed their family with the birth of their second son, Richard. The Behrs were active members of the community until their marriage ended in 1989.

From 1989-2015, Kay authored two books, worked at Parisian in the China Department, saw her three children marry, became a grandmother of six, and had an active social and travel life.  In 1998, she was introduced to Marvin Podem of Columbus, Georgia, by a sorority sister and they married in 2000. Her marriage to Marvin ended in divorce.

Kay loved to garden, enjoyed planting daffodil and tulip bulbs and the weeding to keep her flower beds pristine. She grew camellias, confederate jasmine and cared for many indoor plants. A homemaker at heart, Kay set a beautiful table and made family and friends feel welcome. When she didn’t have time to bake something herself, Kay relied on the local favorite, Rolen’s Bakery, to satisfy her sweet tooth! 

Over the years, Kay held many leadership positions with Temple Emanu-El Sisterhood, Dothan Garden Club, and as a member of a supper club at the Dothan Country Club. She loved to play tennis and walk, either in the neighborhood or at the beach. An avid reader, Kay engaged in Houston County Library activities, most recently the Bookmobile. She was a supporter of both Landmark Park and Dothan Area Botanical Gardens. And Kay loved to do crossword puzzles and play bridge, too! 

About five years ago, Kay moved into Whitehall Assisted Living on John D. Odom Road. There she treasured walking the beautifully landscaped grounds, interacting with the caring staff, and dining on the delicious desserts prepared by the wonderful cooks. Just this past fall, she ordered 200 daffodil bulbs and worked with the landscaper to find the best place to plant them. These daffodils began to bloom in early March, just as Kay’s health started to fade. 

She is survived by her three children, Reisha Behr Holton (Steve) of Sammamish, WA, Jeffrey Shames Behr (Noriko) of Tokyo, Japan, and Richard Kunnes Behr (Mita) of Birmingham; by her six grandchildren Hallie Elizabeth Holton of Portland, OR, Katie Holton Ratliff  (Ben) of Birmingham, Alexander Shames Behr of Boston, MA, Eliot Itzkow Behr of Houston, TX, Isadora Allene Behr of New York City, NY, and Sofina Elizabeth Behr of Sewanee, TN; by her two sisters, Ellen Salsbury (Carl) of Falls Church VA and Susan Goldstein (Gary) of Birmingham;  by her niece and nephews, Amy Goldstein, Brad Goldstein (Jolene), Robert Salsbury, Daniel Salsbury; and by her four dear first cousins, Barbara Gordon, Alice Sanders, Renee Topper, and Joel Isenberg.

A Graveside Service will be held at 10:00am Thursday, March 31, at Westview Cemetery in Thomson, Georgia. 

A Memorial Service and Celebration of Life will be held at 11:00am Friday, April 1, at Temple Emanu-El in Dothan, Alabama.

In lieu of flowers, please consider contributing to one of Kay’s favorite organizations, Temple Emanu-El in Dothan or Dothan Area Botanical Gardens.





To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Kay, please visit our floral store.


Graveside Service
March 31, 2022

10:00 AM
Westview Cemetery, Ga

Celebration of Life
April 1, 2022

11:00 AM
Temple Emanu - El, Alabama, Dothan

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