David Gilbert Bertrand: 3/21/1929 – 10/18/2022
David “Gilbert” Bertrand died suddenly on October 18 at the age of 93, and was actively in charge of his business until his very last day. He was born at St. Francis Hospital in Santa Barbara to a family with long-standing roots in the community. His great grandmother settled in Santa Barbara in the 19th century. Gilbert grew up in the jovial and charitable home of his maternal grandparents, John and Gabrielle de Ponce. As a child growing up during the Depression, he learned sympathy for those who were struggling to survive from his very compassionate and devoutly Catholic grandmother.
Gilbert’s mother, Henriette Akers, had a life-long career in the jewelry business. For many years she owned Henriette, Inc., a highly respected jewelry store in the Upper Village with a distinguished clientele. After his mother retired, David kept the shop open for several years. Young Gilbert attended what is now the Notre Dame School when it was known as the Dolores School. He later went on to graduate from Stanford with a degree in economics and received a master’s degree from the Sorbonne in literature. Gilbert was fluent in three languages and a life-long appreciator of fine French cuisine.
Mr. Bertrand was an astute business man, and during a long career with the California Board of Equalization, he saved his money to invest in properties in order to develop them. He was someone who wanted to contribute to his community by creating worthy projects. The two buildings at 529 and 559 San Ysidro Road are prime examples of his legacy.
David was known as a gentleman with old-fashioned values and considerable integrity. As a landlord he never arbitrarily raised rent just because he could. Many of his former and current tenants became life-long friends. He earned similar loyalty from all the people who worked for him, and all who knew him are better off for having known him. He is survived by his cousins, Adrienne de Ponce Bates; David de Ponce; Michael de Ponce; and Bryan de Ponce, all of Santa Barbara.
No services are planned. A major portion of his estate will benefit Stanford University, The Notre Dame School, and Visiting Nurses. His ashes will be scattered on the property where he resided for many years in Montecito. He will be missed by all who knew him.