Richard Morris Helzberg

October 24, 1940 ~ June 2, 2023 (age 82) 82 Years Old


Richard Morris Helzberg passed away unexpectedly on June 2 after an accident while walking his dog near his home in San Geronimo, CA. At age 82, Richard was full of exceptional energy and humor, and loved his life. His favorite Satchel Paige quote is apt: “How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?”

Born and raised in Kansas City, MI, Richard graduated from the University of Michigan (BA) and the University of Michigan Law School (JD). After law school, he spent five years in New York City before moving to San Francisco. He practiced family law in Marin County, CA for over thirty years, specializing in complex interstate and Hague cases. So passionate was he about his law practice and continuing education that, at 82, he committed to a 65+ hour seminar, when far less rigor sufficed.

Richard absolutely adored Carol, his wife of 21 years, and the blended family they created together. He was immensely proud of his children, and their children. He cherished his canine companions.

Richard was active, running 16 Dipsea Races and many other events - including a 5k earlier this year. In addition to his athletic pursuits, he savored espresso, jazz, and evenings at Berkeley Repertory Theater. Richard was gregarious, making new friends easily and often. He was a fan of the San Francisco Giants, but was most obsessed with University of Michigan - Go Blue!  A voracious reader for work and leisure, Richard found great pleasure in The New Yorker, anthologies of short stories, and biographies.

Richard lived his values and was thoughtful, supportive, and honest. He was genuinely interested in the people he cared for and shared pearls of wisdom along the way, such as “Your perspective will change” and “There are no dumb questions.” Most notably, he took the time to express his love and appreciation for and to all of us. Being summoned to the other room by Richard during frequent Sunday dinner gatherings meant that Richard wanted to sing your praises, share his observations and appreciations or to ask about something that was important to you.

He became an avid traveler later in life, accompanying his son to over 15 countries in the last 10 years, delighting in everything from the best espresso in Rome to climbing to the summit of Huayna Picchu in Peru. Richard actively parented his grown-up children right to the end - mailing them a sweater to keep them warm, inquiring, listening, and marveling. As “Pa,” he was beloved of the grandchildren for whom he cheered at performances. He ignited in them a love of books and celebrated even their small successes. And always made sure to get in a bit of teasing.

Richard’s passion for living fully, his introspection and his awareness of life’s preciousness was encapsulated in his email signature, Respice Finem, which means to consider your actions, and how you will be remembered.

He lives on in love through his wife Carol; four children Gustav, Lena, Max and Gladie; his two stepchildren Lea and Jesse; his four grandchildren Angela, Sunny, Ramona, and Julia; his two great-grandchildren Leon and Alexander; as well as his brothers Barnett C. Helzberg Jr.  and Charles M. Helzberg along with their extended families.

Please consider making a donation in Richard’s honor to the Cleveland Clinic, where Richard received phenomenal care, or the San Geronimo Valley Community Center which provides help for families in need in the place Richard loved and called home. A memorial service will take place at 10am June 26th at the Marin Art & Garden Center, Ross, CA.

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Memorial Service
June 26, 2023

10:00 AM
Marin Art and Garden Center
30 Sir Francis Drake Blvd
Ross, CA 94957


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