Raymond Bigar of New York City and East Hampton died peacefully at home on West End Road here on Sept. 29. He was 97 and had been in declining health for some time.
Mr. Bigar was born in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Sept. 15, 1914, a son of the former Marguerite Rueff and Georges Bigar. He earned a degree from the College Scientifique de Lausanne and, after serving as a first lieutenant in the Swiss cavalry, he moved to New York City in the early 1940s. There he met his future wife, Nicole Weil, an artist whose family had immigrated from France. Mr. Bigar kept his Swiss citizenship. They were married in 1946.
“When we arrived in East Hampton in 1950, we fell in love with it and never spent a summer anywhere else,” Mrs. Bigar said. What they especially loved, she said, “were so many beautiful trees — and the ocean, which is a very unusual combination.”
After arriving in New York, Mr. Bigar bought Lederer of Paris, a leather goods boutique founded in 1898. The shop sold leather wallets, handbags, and gifts. “He loved not only Lederer,” said Mrs. Bigar, “but the social life generated by the store and his customers.” Mr. Bigar sold the store in 1994, when he retired as chairman.
Mr. Bigar was involved in other business ventures and was also a member of La Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin, an order revived in 1934 with the mission of celebrating and promoting Burgundy and its wines, hospitality, food, and traditions.
Mr. Bigar and his wife brought their two children up in New York and East Hampton. Philippe Bigar, their son, survives and lives in New York, as does their daughter, Dominique Bigar, who lives there with her husband, William Kahn, and their son, Tommy Kahn.
Also surviving are a sister, Marie-Hélene Weill of New York, four nieces and two nephews, some of whom live in New York and others in Switzerland, and several great-nieces and great-nephews.
A service was conducted on Oct. 2 by Rabbi Sheldon Zimmerman and Cantor Debra Stein at the Shaarey Pardes Accabonac Grove Cemetery in Springs, where Mr. Bigar was buried. After the service, friends and family members spoke of his immense charm, devotion to his family, interest in travel, history, and music, and his joie de vivre.
“He loved to eat well and he loved chocolate, so we threw some Lindt chocolate bars on the coffin,” Mrs. Bigar said.
The family wrote that contributions in his name can be made to Doctors Without Borders online at doctorswithoutborders.org.