By Brecken Branstrator
New York—In 2018, we lost quite a few members of the jewelry family, from well-known and pioneering retailers to beloved salespeople to pillars of the industry.

National Jeweler remembers them below.


20181214 Marilyn Minster
Marilyn Minster-Ostheimer, who helmed one of America’s oldest jewelry stores for seven decades, died in late 2017. She was 87.

Minster-Ostheimer was friends with William Minster, the son of the second-generation owner of J.J. Minster Jewelers, and worked at the store from a young age. 

She went on to marry Minster and helped them open a second store, eventually taking over the business, now called Minster’s Jewelers, in the 1960s.

She became a respected member of the Newark, Delaware business community. Her son, Will Minster, posted this remembrance on Facebook: “Every Main Street has their champion, and Newark ... has lost a great one. For 70 of Minster’s Jewelers 122 years, she ran the business with pride. Many cannot remember how difficult it was for a female business owner in the ‘60s. She broke the barriers and refused to be denied.”


20181214 Frances Loose
Frances Elizabeth Gibson Loose, who bought Tuel Jewelers in Charlottesville, Virginia in 1975, died Jan. 5 at the age of 86.

Loose held various jobs before landing in 1953 as the bookkeeper at Tuel Jewelers and eventually began assisting the watchmakers with materials and fitting parts.

Loose learned the business from the ground up, and in 1975, she bought the store and ran it with her daughters and, later, her grandsons.

The local newspaper, The Daily Progress, described Loose as a “beloved downtown businesswoman” whose store is a staple of Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall; her obituary stated that one of her nicknames was “Queen of the Mall,” in addition to “Mom Tuel.”


Jason Cullen
was the victim of a fatal armed robbery in his family’s store. He died Jan. 10 at the age of 31.

Cullen entered the family business, Highland Jewelry and Loan in San Bernardino, California, immediately after graduation. Through hard work he rose in rank to manager and then partner/owner with his father.

Cullen is said to have had the ability to make friends with anyone. He also loved the outdoors and had a special love for the mountains. On his days off, he could be found snowboarding or playing with his sons at the family’s mountain house.


20181214 Douglas Schubot
Former Jules R. Schubot Jewellers owner and chairman Douglas Schubot died Jan. 18 in Delray Beach, Florida. He was 87.

Schubot began learning the jewelry trade in the late 1940s, working during school breaks for his father, who founded his eponymous company in 1917.

Jules R. Schubot sold high-end jewelry to such well-known people as Henry Ford, Tony Martin, Frank Sinatra and Joan Crawford. He handed the store over to Doug and his wife Sydell in 1970. Their son Brian joined the family business in 1985, and together they grew the store into a destination private salon in the city.

Following the recession and economic downtown, the store was forced to close in 2010, though Brian continues to operate as a private jeweler.


20181214 Harry Weinroth
Connecticut jeweler Harry Weinroth died Jan. 22. He was 91.

After the Nazis invaded his home country of Poland, Weinroth passed through 18 different Nazi concentration and death camps. Both of his parents and his four younger siblings were killed by the Nazis; only he and his older sister, Sofi, survived.

He was liberated from Dachau in April 1945 and spent four years at a displaced person’s camp outside of Munich, where he learned about watches and met his future wife. In 1949, he left for the U.S. and settled in Stamford, Connecticut, opening Harry’s Watch Repair within weeks (it’s still open as Bedford Jewelers and is run by Weinroth’s children).

Weinroth was known as someone who loved to interact with people, whether his family, customers or waiters, and was always quick with a joke or self-deprecating quip.


Robert Percy Mims Jr., owner of Robert Mims Jewelers, died Jan. 22 at his home in Natchez, Mississippi. He was 96.

Mims studied aeronautical engineering at Mississippi State University then joined the Army Air Corps in 1941, flying 26 combat missions before being captured by the Germans and made a POW.

He returned home in April 1945 after the war was over but continued to serve in the Air Force, earning numerous honors. After retiring from the military, Mims then went on to study horology, hand-engraving, jewelry design, jewelry repairs, jewelry manufacturing and business at Bradley University, graduating with honors.

He and his family moved to Natchez to manage Herman’s Jewelers in 1952. Two years later, Mims opened and managed the jewelry department at Dixon’s, where he worked until he and his family opened their own store on Main Street in downtown Natchez in 1965.


Bill Brough, the jeweler behind Bill Brough Jewelers in Northampton, Massachusetts, died Jan. 31 at age 62.

Brough apprenticed with a Stamford, Connecticut jeweler when he was only 15 then went on study at the Gemological Institute of America, becoming a certified gemologist in 1975. Just three years later, he opened his first store, which he owned for 36 years before closing in 2014 due to health issues.

His daughter, Crystal Kane, spoke to in an interview about Brough’s special personality, which infused his business. “He brought love, laughs and silliness to all of our lives who were lucky enough to know him.”


20181214 Ira Kinsler
Former National Jeweler publisher Ira Kinsler died Feb. 8 at his home in Pompano Beach, Florida. He was 94.

After volunteering for the draft in World War II, Kinsler served as an advertising salesman and then as a national sales manager for trade publications.

He joined National Jeweler as an editorial trainee in 1977 and helped grow it into the most successful magazine at Gralla Publications. Kinsler retired to Florida in the late 1970s/early 1980s but still went to the Florida trade shows.

“He was larger than life and a very nice guy, extremely well-liked and a real tour de force,” said Centurion show founder Howard Hauben, who also was the publisher of National Jeweler at one time. “It sounds like his life after National Jeweler was wonderful, and I am very happy for having known him.”


20181214 Robert Corey
Robert Corey, who founded Robert’s Jewelry Store with his wife Enid, died Feb. 11 in Fort Kent, Maine. He was 90 years old.

After serving as a military policeman stationed in Japan, he returned to Maine and was put in charge of opening and managing a Day’s Jewelers in Caribou, Maine. There he met Enid and the two married in 1950.

In 1955, they moved to Madawaska, where they opened Robert’s Jewelry Store, which is currently owned and operated by his son, Robert. Corey also was the father of Jeff and Jim Corey, the current owners of Day’s Jewelers.

He loved to spend time with his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and to go on hunting trips with friends. He was a devout Catholic “who was very much in touch with his heart,” his family said, and he will be missed for his wit, humor and ability to always find goodness and kindness in life.


20181214 Morris Adwar
Morris Adwar, who started ALA Casting after the war, died Feb. 15. He was 96.

Adwar immigrated to the United States from Palestine when he was five years old, spending some years in a New York orphanage before being reunited with his family. After serving with the U.S. Army Air Force during WWII, he started ALA Casting and, later, Alarama and Overnight Mountings.

He was heavily involved in the jewelry industry and widely seen as a pioneer in the industry as well as a generous philanthropist who devoted time and money to his religion and the Girls’ Town Or Chadash, a home for disadvantaged youth in Rekhasim, Israel.

“He was just a wonderful man, one of The Greatest Generation,” his son Jeff Adwar said. “They don’t make people like that anymore.”


20181214 Carlos Gandia
Carlos Gandia, who owned and operated Greenwich Jewelers alongside his wife for 32 years, died Feb. 19. He was 76.

After seeing an ad in 1976 that read, “Jewelry Store for Sale,” he and his wife Milly saw an opportunity and opened Greenwich Jewelers.

Gandia loved being on the bench making jewelry and his clients, whom he considered to be friends. He, along with Milly, retired in 2008, leaving the business to daughters, who recently renamed the store Greenwich St. Jewelers as a nod to its original location.

“He instilled in us the values of honesty, hard work, service and of having fun while doing it all,” Jennifer Gandia and Christina Gandia Gambale wrote in a tribute to their father posted on the store’s Facebook page. “We are forever grateful for his example, his love and the gift of this business where we can carry on a legacy of jewelry, the most precious marker of memories and moments in time.”


20181214 Bob Wesdorp
Robert (Bob) Wesdorp, who took over Jewel-Craft in 1950, died Feb. 27 in The Villages, Florida. He was 90.

Wesdorp served in the U.S. Navy during both World War II and the Korean conflict.

He joined his father, Earl, on the bench in 1949. Earl died the following year, and Wesdorp and his wife Dorothy took over Jewel-Craft Inc. They ran the business out of their Kentucky home until 1957, then moved it twice while growing Jewel-Craft into a nationally known company.

They turned over management of the company to the next generation in 1985.

“We are really proud of our history as a family-owned business,” Gary Wesdorp said. “Our parents worked extremely long, hard hours to build the foundation for the success and expansion of our company. We will do our best to carry on the legacy and tradition that he built here.”


Theodore “Ted” Shaughnessy was the victim of a fatal home invasion at his Austin, Texas residence on March 2.

Ted and his wife, Corey, owned Gallerie Jewelers in Austin.

He was known to be patient, kind and loving. Shaughnessy loved his job and took great pleasure in helping customers find jewelry that represented the special times in their lives.

His family also said that chatting with and befriending customers was a favorite pastime, noting that the chats could last for hours and span a range of topics, from jewelry and gemstones to grilling to dogs.

National Jeweler has been covering the circumstances surrounding Shaughnessy’s murder throughout the year.


Longtime jeweler and community leader Theodore “Ted” Robert Blohm died peacefully at his home on March 24 at age 91.

In 1941 Blohm moved with his family to Elko, Nevada, because his parents had bought a small jewelry store there, the first of several Blohm Jewelers locations. After graduating from high school and then Bradley Technical School with a watch-making degree, he served in the U.S. Army during World War II.

After the war at age 21, he was nominated to become commander of the local American Legion Post, becoming the youngest post commander in U.S. history, and in 1948 reactivated the Elko National Guard. Just before he died, Blohm received a certificate honoring his 70 years with The American Legion of Elko, Post 7.

He was very active in the family’s jewelry business—moving it to its current location in downtown Elko—and in the community. 

Blohm loved flying his pressurized Piper Malibu airplane as a private pilot, outdoor sports and his family.


20181214 Herb Bridge
Herb Bridge, a leader in both the jewelry industry and the Seattle business community, died April 2 surrounded by family at his home. He was 93.

Bridge (pictured here at right) started working at Ben Bridge Jeweler at a young age, but joined the U.S. Navy shortly after the country entered World War II. He returned to the family jewelry store after serving.

When Herb was 29 and his brother Bob was 23, Ben Bridge turned the family business over to them. Together, they grew Ben Bridge Jeweler into what is now one of the largest specialty jewelers in the United States.

Soon-to-be Ben Bridge President CEO Lisa Bridge wrote on Instagram that her great-uncle “taught us to invest time and energy into our community and everyone we came into contact with. I am thankful to have had such a loving, wonderful role model in my life and I will strive to live a life in his honor.”


20181214 Joseph Samuels
Joseph H. Samuel Jr., former president of the wholesaler J. & S.S. DeYoung, Inc., died at home in Beverly, Massachusetts on April 23. He was 92 years old.

After serving in the U.S. Navy, Samuel entered the family jewelry business. He worked with his uncle, Sydney DeYoung, buying and selling fine estate jewels, rare gems and historical pieces, and was instrumental in building the business into a nationally and internationally recognized firm.

According to his family, he loved golf, gardening and analyzing stocks; for about 15 years after he retired, Samuel put together a weekly newsletter with his market analysis and sent it to many friends and colleagues.


20181214 James Avery
James Avery, who started his eponymous retail chain in his in-laws’ garage in the 1950s, died April 30. He was 96.

After Avery served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, he earned a bachelor’s degree and began teaching at colleges, where he first began to explore jewelry-making techniques.

It was while visiting his wife’s parents in Texas in 1954 that Avery started what would eventually become an 80-store chain. He hired his first employee three years later and opened his first store in 1973, growing it into one of the top 20 largest specialty jewelers in North America.

Avery retired in 2007 and turned the business over to his two sons but continued to design. He is remembered as a dynamic, creative and generous man who touched many people through his art, work and giving spirit.


Jeweler Robert “Bob” Dubose of Vero Beach, Florida jewelry store Dubose & Sons Jewelers died May 3 at the age of 90.

DuBose joined the family business in 1946 after serving in the U.S. Navy and going to school for jewelry and watch repairs, hand engraving and business. He represented the third of five generations.

He also was very involved in his community, serving on the city council, school board and fire department for 40 years, and enjoyed watching the L.A. Dodgers play baseball when they were spring training in the area, taking a charter bus to watch all the team’s games.


20181214 Jack Fulwiler
West Texas jeweler and master watchmaker Jack Henry Fulwiler died May 4 in hospice following a long illness. He was 82.

Fulwiler’s family opened their jewelry store, Fulwiler Jewelers, in 1935. He took over the business in 1989, when his father died. A decade later he downsized, moving Fulwiler Jewelers to a smaller space.

In 1961, Fulwiler helped found American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute. He was one of only 20 master watchmakers in Texas at the time of his death.

Outside of the jewelry industry, Fulwiler served in the Army National Guard, was a past president of Abilene’s Downtown Association, and a member of the Abilene Rotary Club, Kiwanis and Jaycees.

He was known for being gregarious and outgoing, and his hobbies included golf, recreational flying, fishing and tending to his “immaculate” yard.


20181214 Camilla Dietz Bergeron
Camilla Dietz Bergeron, who started an antique and estate jewelry company after working on Wall Street in the ‘70s and ‘80s, died May 20 at the age of 76.

While on Wall Street, Bergeron was a founding partner of a firm that specialized in funding for small- and mid-sized companies. It was sold to Xerox in 1987.

Two years later, she started Camilla Dietz Bergeron Ltd. with business partner Gus Davis, specializing in antique, estate and period jewelry.

Her eponymous New York-based firm shared the news of its founder’s passing in its e-newsletter, writing: “Camilla was a leader and a fighter until the very end. We will miss her guidance, her charm and her many memorable Southern expressions. Her spirit will live on forever, and her elegance will put a smile on our faces when we think of her.”


20181214 Steffan Aletti
Former industry journalist Steffan Aletti died May 30 at the age of 74. He had been in declining health for some years.

He held a number of roles in the jewelry industry over the course of his career, including almost two decades as an editor at American Jewelry Manufacturer magazine (now known as MJSA Journal), president of the Jewelry Information Center (which would later become a part of Jewelers of America) and director of communications for the International Colored Gemstone Association.

He also had his own company, Aletti Communications, which created brochures, newsletters and campaigns for jewelry companies.

Aletti was inducted into the 24 Karat Club of New York in 1989. A skilled photographer, he took photos for the club’s outing and events for a number of years. He also was a member of the New York Athletic Club, and wrote and published science fiction and horror stories.


20181214 Orley Solomon
Orley Solomon, who was with Ben Bridge Jeweler for more than five decades, died on Aug. 2 at the age of 94.

He served in the U.S. Army during World War II and returned to Seattle to work in sales. Ben Bridge hired Solomon in 1960, beginning a successful career that spanned 50 years. His book, “Selling from A to Z,” remains the cornerstone of the Ben Bridge training program today.

Orley believed strongly in community service, serving as president of the Southcenter Merchants Association and the Southcenter Rotary, and was a volunteer speaker and trainer for the American Gem Society.

He was known for his charm, sense of humor, positive attitude and exuberance for life.


20181214 Ernest Grunwald
Ernest Grunwald, who started Belair Time Corp. in the 1960s, died Aug. 9. He was 104.

After being expelled from his German university by Adolf Hitler, relocating to Italy and fleeing to Switzerland, Grunwald immigrated to the U.S. in 1941.

He served in the U.S. Air Force in World War II. In 1946, he married Ilse Kalberman and joined her family’s small watch business, J. Kalberman Co. His skills served him well, and the business flourished; in 1962, Ernest and Ilse opened a watch movement assembly plant in the U.S. Virgin Islands called Belair Time Corp.

Ernest Grunwald is remembered as having a passion for people and an infectious smile that could light up a room. He was loved by his employees, suppliers and customers alike.


Pino Rabolini, who continued his family’s goldsmithing tradition in launching Italian jewelry brand Pomellato, died Aug. 24. He was 82.

Rabolini launched Pomellato in Milan in 1967, bringing to market a ready-to-wear jewelry brand that women could don, and buy for themselves, for any occasion. He has said was inspired by the women he met at Bar Jamaica—singers, actresses and ceramicists—and wanted to create a line of jewelry that paid homage to their spirits and to women’s growing independence in general.

The company added a second brand, Dodo, in 1994; the brand’s low-karat, whimsical gold charms are designed to appeal to younger consumers. The Rabolini family sold Pomellato and Dodo in 2013.


20181214 Carolyn Kelly
Carolyn Kelly, a beloved member of the industry for more than four decades, died Oct. 2 at her home in New York following a five-year battle with bile duct cancer. She was 60.

Kelly started her career in 1974 at Bloomingdale’s and remained with the retailer for 15 years, learning the business along the way.

She also had roles at Adornis, David Yurman, Mastoloni and Saks Fifth Avenue. It was in the early ‘90s at Saks that she became a friend and colleague to Peter Webster, the president of Roberto Coin.

“She was one of the icons of the industry,” Webster said of Kelly, “and a very loyal friend.”


20181214 Gary Krauss
Gerald (Gary) Martin Krauss, a World War II veteran and longtime owner of Hofman-Green Jewelers in Ohio, died Oct. 24. He was 100.

Born July 22, 1918, Krauss was the son of Anna Reich Krauss and David Krauss, who owned Krauss Jewelers and later Hofman-Green Jewelers, of Springfield, Ohio.

After serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, he returned to Illinois in December 1946 and later joined Hofman-Green, which his father had bought when he was overseas.

Krauss became the owner and manager of the store and held that position for 37 years. After he retired, Krauss and wife Bonnie split their time between Springfield and West Palm Beach, Florida.


20181214 Helen Buck
Helen M. Buck, who worked for the Jewelers’ Security Alliance for more than three decades, died Oct. 25. She was 82.

Described in her obituary as an “independent and strong woman,” Buck began her professional life working for many years at Allstate Insurance Company, where she met husband, Peter Buck, and went on to work at JSA for nearly 40 years, only retiring last year.

JSA President John. J. Kennedy told National Jeweler: “She was a terrific employee at JSA for 37 years, a brave and determined mother who raised two great children alone after her husband’s early death, an entertaining friend and one tough lady.

“As a number of people have commented, they don’t make them like Helen anymore.”


20181214 Scott Longheier
Scott D. Longheier died Oct. 31 from a heart attack. He was 64.

Longheier was born on Sept. 15, 1954, in Massillon, Ohio, to Jack and Mary (Schwab) Longheier. He graduated from Jackson High School in 1972 and went on to work in the family business, Duncan Jewelers, which was founded by Curtis James Duncan in 1897 and at which his father also had worked since the 1920s. He ran the business for more than two decades.

He also was a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church.

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Since 1906, National Jeweler has been the must-read news source for smart jewelry professionals--jewelry retailers, designers, buyers, manufacturers, and suppliers. From market analysis to emerging jewelry trends, we cover the important industry topics vital to the everyday success of jewelry professionals worldwide. National Jeweler delivers the most urgent jewelry news necessary for running your day-to-day jewelry business here, and via our daily e-newsletter, website and other specialty publications, such as "The State of the Majors." National Jeweler is published by Jewelers of America, the leading nonprofit jewelry association in the United States.