It is with profound sorrow that I write this blog to tell you that one of my dearest friends, Marius Stakelborough, whom I admired and adored ever since my first visit to St. Barth in 1986, left us yesterday. Marius celebrated his 97th birthday on June 05, 2020. For those who do not know the history, in 1949, Marius founded the famous Le Select Bar, which presently sits on a corner in the heart of Gustavia.
In one of my previous blogs, I explained that everyone knows Marius, including Jimmy Buffett, who refers to Marius in his One Particular Harbor song. When Marius decided to add food selections to his bar, he asked Jimmy if he could name it Cheeseburger in Paradise. Jimmy happily agreed, but only if Jimmy could have an open tab at Le Select for the rest of his life. No problem! Jimmy gave us a free concert to celebrate Le Select’s 50th, 60th, and 70th anniversaries on November 11, 1999, 2009 and 2019. I was lucky enough to attend every one of them.
Marius was an icon, a legend. He did so much for St. Barth. He strengthened the ties between the island and Sweden (who owned St. Barth for a period of time in-between the French rule). Every November, St Barth celebrates Pitea Day when various events take place commemorating St. Barth’s Swedish heritage. The celebration of the twin cities (St. Barth and Pitea in Sweden) and it usually includes a visit by the mayor of Pitea and his delegation. The Gustavialoppet (which means “Race of Gustavia” in Swedish) is an annual event known as the Swedish Marathon and includes a 3km health walk and a 13km race for local and visiting runners. It first took place in 1991.
I was fortunate to see Marius often, many times, with a Ti Punch in hand. My deepest sympathy and condolences go out to his nine children, who, along with his large family, adores him, as do we.
Rest in Peace, Marius, you are sorely missed.