Andrew Pansini, inventor of the automatic pool cleaner and founder of Jandy Industries, died Nov. 4 at his home in Marin County, Calif. He was 93.
Pansini’s legacy in the industry dates to 1958 when he founded Jandy Products in San Anselmo, Calif. But the roots of the company actually began a year earlier, when a garden hose accidentally fell into Pansini’s pool. The hose’s snaking motion gave him an idea, and he set to work developing what would become the world’s first automatic pool cleaner.
“My dad was a true inventor and engineer,” said Andy Pansini Jr., who started with Jandy in 1972 and served as president/CEO from the early 1980s until 1996. “He lived a very long and fulfilling life.”
The company, which was derived from a combination of his first wife’s name, Jane, and Andy, provided a vehicle for his initial patent, a rigid arm pool cleaner. Subsequent revisions resulted in the surface-bound Pool Sweep, as well as a submersible model called the Jandy.
Born in Los Angeles on May 23, 1918, Pansini attended the University of Notre Dame and received a Bachelor of Arts in business from the University of Southern California. While there, he was diagnosed with polio, but overcame the disease’s impact, focusing on his entrepreneurial vision and inventive spirit.
In 1942, Pansini moved to San Francisco and opened the world’s first underground parking garage for his family’s business, Savoy Corp., which eventually grew into a multimillion-dollar commercial real estate firm.
“He was a tremendous man who had an amazing impact on the pool industry and my life,” said longtime friend and colleague Vance Gillette, who joined Jandy in the mid-1970s and is now vice president of business development at Zodiac Pool Systems in Vista, Calif.
In the early ’80s, after entrusting the helm of Jandy to his son, Pansini dedicated time to his other love: thoroughbred horses. At one point he raised nearly 50 horses at Jandy Stables, and raced them throughout California under the Jandy colors of green and blue.
A funeral mass was held Nov. 9 in Tiburon, Calif. Pansini is survived by his wife, Constance; seven children by his first wife, the late Jane Raue; 11 grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.