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A Miami Story: The Litzes Take Miami

This story, as told by Ronni Litz Julien, is part of an oral history series. 

Sheila Presser (Bronx-born) and Norman Litz (a Philadelphian) both moved to Florida with their families in 1946. 

Sheila graduated from South Broward High School, named “wittiest” in her senior class.  Norman graduated from Miami High School, a left-handed star pitcher on the baseball team; he was also known as “Lefty Litz.”  Upon graduation, the University of Miami offered Norman a baseball scholarship; he pitched for two years as a Miami Hurricane. 

He had offers from the St. Louis Cardinals and the Boston Braves, but instead he made the decision to enlist in the United States Air Force, during the Korean War. It was 1951. 

Fast forward to 1957.  Sheila, my mother, a radiology technician, worked at Mount Sinai Hospital through the early ‘60s, and continued her career managing physicians’ practices for many years thereafter.  Her finest job, however, was that of being our mom, and no one ever did it better, and never will.

Mom and Dad met in 1960.  They married in 1961, and embarked on their life together, living on Miami Beach.  Dad’s career began with the City of Miami Beach, first as an auditor.  He was soon after offered the job of assistant manager at the Miami Beach Convention Center. 

In 1971, Dad was promoted to director of the Convention Center (and the Jackie Gleason Theater of the Performing Arts), where he remained until his “first retirement” in 1993.  Dad spent 22 years in this extraordinary position, hosting the 1968 Republican National Convention and the 1972 Democratic and Republican National Conventions, the major expansion of the MBCC, about 1988, and if you give him an hour or two, he could come up with innumerable experiences while there.  

Miami Stories is a project by WLRN, the Miami Herald, el Nuevo Herald and HistoryMiami. To share your story, click here.

Credit HistoryMiami

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