Jacques Helbronner

Obituary of Jacques Helbronner

JACQUES JULES HELBRONNER 'Jim' October 8, 1929 - February 11, 2023 Jim died peacefully at his Toronto home in his 94th year. He is survived by his devoted wife of 68 years, Elizabeth (née Boysen), his three loving daughters, Caroline (Nicholas Brearton), Alison (Bruce McDonald), and Valerie (Gary Salewicz), and his six adoring grandchildren Martin, David, Jack, Zoë, Amelia, and Ellen. He is also survived by his sister, Brigide Helbronner, his loyal nephew, Clive Shore, and many relatives in Belgium and France. He was predeceased by his parents, Henry and Hélène (née Philippson) Helbronner and his sisters, Anne Obolensky and Georgina White. Jim was born in Brussels in 1929 and lived much of his early life in Belgium, France and England. He attended Harrow School near London, the Sorbonne in Paris, and the University of Geneva, where he met Elizabeth, a native of Washington D.C., who was on her junior year abroad from Vassar College. After graduating, Jim continued his studies and eventually moved to North America to pursue his interest in business (and his interest in Elizabeth!). Jim lived for a few months in New York City and then relocated to Toronto when he was offered a position with Harris and Partners. Jim and Elizabeth married shortly thereafter and moved to Canada together in 1954, beginning what would be a rich and fulfilling life for themselves and their family. Jim loved his work. His varied and successful business career spanned over 40 years with Harris and Partners, Wood Gundy, and Power Corporation Canada. Prior to retirement, Jim worked with Power Financial Canada in their Brussels office, which was an enriching experience for him, both professionally and personally. He was happy to spend a few years back in Europe and in the city of his birth. Jim was a gentleman of the old school, beautifully mannered, impeccably groomed, and sharply attired on every occasion. He was a considerate and entertaining conversationalist, charming others with his friendliness, wit, broad knowledge and playful sense of humour. An enduring curiosity and a creative flair drove his many interests. He had a keen interest in music, and compiled an extensive record and CD collection spanning various genres and decades. He was a wine connoisseur, an avid photographer, a formidable scrabble opponent and a skillful bridge player. Though his colourful language might have suggested otherwise, he also enjoyed golf (particularly with his sons-in-law and grandchildren). Jim shared an abiding spirit of adventure with Elizabeth and they travelled far and wide in their retirement. Their final trip was an extensive tour of Argentina and Chile (including Patagonia) when they were 90 and 89 years old, respectively! Jim delighted in planning and photographing their trips; his photo albums will be cherished keepsakes for his family for years to come. In the last years of his long life, Jim suffered from various illnesses, but he managed to keep his spirits up, particularly during the last year, and remained engaged with his family and activities. He continued to play bridge with his Tuesday Bridge Club until three months before his death. All told, Jim's greatest joy was his family. He and Elizabeth raised their daughters to be independent and self-sufficient. He was always there when needed, with a wise perspective or a word of encouragement, while being mindful to allow his girls the space to make their own way. His grandchildren were a source of pride and enjoyment and he built deep relationships with each of them. His family will deeply miss him and his personality, love, devotion and support. The family is grateful for the incredible care that Jim received, including from: his long-standing family doctor, Dr. Martin Schwartz; his cardiologist, Dr. Mezody; each of his caring personal support workers; the staff at Home Instead; the doctors from Temmy Latner Centre for Palliative Care; and the nurses from Spectrum Health Care. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Temmy Latner Centre. A visitation will be held on Wednesday February 15 between 3:00 - 6:00 p.m. at Humphrey Funeral Home, 1403 Bayview Avenue, Toronto. A private family funeral service will follow at a later date.