Barbara Joy Helfant

by | Jan 18, 2024 | Obituaries

VIRGINIA BEACH – Barbara Joy Helfant, 94, passed away on December 10.

Besides her parents, the late Murray and Fanny Wacke, Barbara was preceded in death by her loving husband, Seymour, with whom she ran off and eloped when she was only 18. They remained married until Seymour passed away. She was also preceded in death by her loving sister and brother-in-law, Marilyn and Jerome Lambert.

Barbara was born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., and eventually moved with Seymour to Virginia Beach.

As a young woman, Barbara was a ballet dancer and owned and ran her own ballet school. She was an actress and comedian and, along with a partner, Kitty Kimble, worked the Catskill Mountain circuit.

After moving to Virginia Beach, Barbara became a real estate broker and remained such until she retired. She loved boating and playing golf with her husband and was always the life of the party. Barbara was an avid Mah Jongg player and loved to play Black Jack. But nothing and no one was more important nor more loved by her than her three grandchildren.

Left behind to cherish her memory are her daughters, Jill (John) Simmelink and Andi (William) Helfant-Frye, her grandchildren, Rachel Simmelink Vinson of Virginia Beach, Joanne Simmelink Wieworka of Richmond, and Justin Frye of New York City, and her great-grandchildren, Ryder, Mila, AJ and Izzy.

She had a special place in her heart for all of her nieces and nephews, Sheila Josephberg of Palm Beach, Joan Irvine of Seattle, Robert Helfant (deceased), and Marvin Neuwirth, Freddie Neuwirth, and Robin Neuwirth, all of Wilmington, N.C.

So…..keep your head up high, and, if ever in doubt, just shake it up baby and Twist and Shout!

A small graveside memorial was held at Woodlawn Cemetery. Donations to the Alzheimer’s Association at or an association of your choice.