Simon Katz, R.I.P.: Chatfield High Musician Dies After Eating Peanut Buttered S'More

This afternoon, a public memorial service is planned for Simon Katz, a sixteen-year-old Chatfield High School junior and budding musician for the group Boats Without Oars, whose death was caused by the simplest of mistakes.

He thought a s'more he got at Chatfield's homecoming celebration bonfire on Monday would be perfectly safe to eat, despite his severe allergy to peanuts. However, the treat apparently had some peanut butter on it, and he died after going into anaphylactic shock.

I'm among the many people for whom Katz's death feels personal. I live mere blocks from Chatfield, which all three of my children attended, and my niece, who graduated from there last year, knew Katz through their membership in the school's band.

She, like everyone else about whom I've heard, thought he was terrific.

Katz's Facebook page is filled with images of him making music, including this one....

...and this one....

In addition, there are plenty of videos showing him in action alongside his mates in Boats Without Oars.

Here's an example.

The post shared on the band's Facebook page after Katz's passing is particularly heartbreaking.

It reads:
I've rewritten this post so many times because there are no words to describe what we're feeling right now. We are absolutely heartbroken. Our bassist, Simon Katz, passed away last night from anaphylactic shock. Simon, you were the most charismatic and amazing kid. You made every show we ever played special. This band would be nothing without you and you made this what it is.

We are going to finish the LP that we were working on for Simon and from that point on we have to discuss whether this project is going to continue. His bass tracks will be on the record. Please send love and support to Simon's family. We love you buddy.

That Katz died after being sickened at a school-sanctioned event prompted an official statement about the incident from the Jefferson County School District.

Here it is:
As before, we want to extend our deepest sympathies to Simon Katz’s family and friends. This event, open to the Chatfield community, was part of Chatfield High School’s homecoming celebration. The event took place in the parking lot of Chatfield and the bonfire was overseen by the Warren Tech fire sciences department including those trained in extinguishing fires and emergency medicine. We understand that food was provided to the attendees from a number of sources, including approximately several food trucks.

Students are distributing yellow ribbons (Simon’s favorite color) and the school will hold a moment of silence at its homecoming football game Friday night.

Again, our top priority is providing support for our students, staff, and Chatfield community as they grieve.
The aforementioned memorial service will provide an opportunity to do so. It takes place at 1 p.m. today at Ellis Family Services, 13436 West Arbor Place in Littleton.

In the meantime, our sincere condolences to the friends, family and loved ones of Simon Katz.

Look below to see a 7News report about Katz's death, followed by another video of Boats Without Oars.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts