Marilyn L. Diamond, the Northeast
service-company owner known as “The Pool Lady,” died
Nov. 14 at her Atlantic Beach, N.Y., home after a brief battle with
cancer. She was three weeks shy of her 71st birthday.
Diamond — one of the first females in the male-dominated
service industry — is remembered as a pioneer in her field.
She also distinguished herself as only the second Northeast Spa &
Pool Association chairwoman, in 2001. Before that, she had
served at the helm of NESPA’s Long Island Chapter.
Born in Moscow, Idaho, on Dec. 2, 1938, Diamond graduated from
College in Nampa, Idaho, with a degree in education. Her
passion for teaching — and learning — would play a
major role in her own professional growth as well as that of the
Her young adulthood was an eclectic one and included a stint
teaching English in Japan, as well as a career as a flight
attendant. Eventually, she left the airlines to raise her children,
while continuing to teach on occasion.
Her involvement in the pool industry began as a hobby.
Initially, Diamond and her husband maintained pools for family and
friends. At that time, neighborhood children would call out
“The Pool Lady is here!” upon seeing her. The name
In 1981, her husband died, leaving her a single parent.
“She was a stay-at-home mom and, after my father passed away,
she needed income,” said her son, John Diamond. So she turned
her hobby into a full-time pursuit, and opened The Pool Lady
“She just said, ‘OK, this is what I’m going to
do,’” John Diamond said. “She [learned] how to do
the chemicals better, and made sure she knew how to do the cleaning
and repairs. She taught herself.”
Diamond’s company eventually became a 120-account
operation with several employees. In spite of her illness, she
remained active in The Pool Lady Inc. through the end of this
summer. Her sons John and Matthew Diamond will continue the
The Pool Lady was known for putting an emphasis on customer
service. In addition to cleaning and repairing the pools, Diamond
would do little extras such as hosing down decks and helping
customers prepare their backyards for the winter. She insisted her
employees do the same.
“She never was afraid to get her hands dirty,” said
Paulette Pitrak, NESPA’s deputy executive director and a
close friend of Diamond’s. “She had that Western
personality, that cowboy independence.”
Diamond brought her customer-first sensibility and desire for
knowledge to her role as NESPA’s chairperson. “Her big
push was always education,” said John Romano, president of
All American Custom Pools and Spas in Norwalk, Conn. “She was
always in the midst of, or helping organize, something.”
She also was known as a compassionate leader. “She was the
kindest and most thoughtful person you would ever want to
meet,” Pitrak said. “She really cared about her
officers and making things pleasant for the volunteers, and
[ensuring] the staff was given kudos.”
While Diamond was considered a trailblazer for women in the
industry, she also had a strong sense of history and tradition.
“I remember she tried to get every past president of the Long
Island Chapter to a meeting,” said George Kazdin, president
of Kazdin Pools & Spas in Southampton, N.Y. “I think when she was
show chairman in Atlantic City, she got every past president of
NESPA up there. She was always very cognizant of the work that went
In addition to her sons, Diamond is survived by a
daughter-in-law and three grandchildren.