We were saddened to hear of the death of Aunt Helen Kelbert. Only last year we were privileged to have visited her, and Aunt Flocky in St. Thomas in July with my wife and two sons, Thomas and James Kelbert. She was an amazing lady.
My father, entrepreneur Lee Kelbert, was actually the founder of Little Switzerland with his brother Ruddy, and his sister-in-law, Helen Kelbert. Little Switzerland was the original idea of my father and was established in 1954 on St. Thomas after he had visited the island on vacation and fallen in love with it. Little Switzerland ultimately expanded to seven different stores within the Caribbean islands, and became a very successful business. The stores were sold in 1981, and Lee Kelbert and his wife, also named Helen, retired to Snowmass Village in Colorado, whilst Aunt Helen remained as an active resident of St. Thomas.
As a child living on St. Thomas with my parents and my brother, Tim Kelbert, I remember Aunt Helen as a charming and highly respected businesswoman. We invariably spent Christmas Day with her, and she represented everything that was proper and cultured. So many years later at the age of 92, her dignity and charm still so apparent, I was proud to introduce her to my own family. Indignant only at losing her driver's license just months after her 92nd birthday, Helen's life was close to the way she had wanted it. She was involved with her church and had acted as an anonymous benefactor to many young, talented people on St. Thomas.
Helen Kelbert is survived by two nephews, Bruce and Tim Kelbert, who reside in San Jose and Santa Cruz, California.
Bruce Lee Kelbert
Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to email@example.com.