On September 5, 2015, our Feldmar family lost one of the pioneers of our business, Harriet Kahn Feldmar, at the age of 95.
Harriet was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin to Benjamin and Ethel Kahn on October 9, 1919. Harriet and her family moved to Los Angeles, California when she was just three years old. She attended Hollywood High School and graduated in 1937. In the early 1940’s after having some experience doing secretarial work at a law office, Harriet heard that she could make more money during the war working for tool manufacturer, Lockheed. She enjoyed her time in the tool making department until 1945, when she got married to Barney Feldmar.
At the beginning of their marriage, Barney had been working in downtown Los Angeles, repairing watches and stopwatches with his father, Jacob Feldmar. With her natural business savvy, Harriet told Barney he needed to buy the watch business from his father because they needed to make ends meet. He did, and they opened a new version of Feldmar Watch Company on Pico Boulevard in 1956. The new business wasn’t just repairing watches, but selling them too. The rest, they say, is history.
Harriet was known for selling watches right off her wrist; that’s how passionate a businesswoman she was. She was also a bookkeeper for the business until they could afford to hire someone else. She was always there with an open hand and won people over with her beautiful smile and infectious laugh.
Harriet and Barney were also a good team outside of the watch business, as they were the Founding Fathers of Temple Akiba in Culver City. They were very involved in the life of the Temple, where they made many friends over the years. Read the full story on how Harriet was an integral part of this business.
It was difficult for Harriet when it came time to retire, even though she was leaving the business in the very capable hands of her son-in-law, Sol Meller. Her grandchildren and desire to learn to play golf began to satisfy her free time. Harriet watched our industry evolve during her decades of involvement in her family’s business as part of the second generation of ownership and her interest continued throughout her life as she was always inquiring about the business with her son-in-law, Sol and her grandson, Scott.
Harriet was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, but that couldn’t stop her from doing the things she loved. She stayed active for as long as she could, attending concerts, playing bridge, and more.
Harriet is survived by her daughters Linda Jones and Nancy Meller (Mike Leitle), her grandchildren, Tracy Kleinberg (Ethan), Scott Meller (Elena), Jody Bakhtair (Kourosh), and her sister-in-laws, Rose Keane and Janet Rose (Charlie). Her greatest joys in the last few years of her life were her seven great-grandchildren, Lili, Noa, Jordan, Ayton, Logan, Preston, and Collette.
Harriet will be sorely missed and will be remembered for her business acumen, energy and gusto for life.