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Dick Guiton, founder and former owner of Guiton’s Pool Center, died May 25. He was 81. Dale Simpson, the company’s current owner, said his father-in-law’s health had been deteriorating in recent years.

Originally, Guiton was from Southern California’s San Fernando Valley, where he was a pool decking and concrete contractor in the 1960s. After several friends moved up to Northern California, Guiton decided to follow, settling in Redding in 1967.

One of his first jobs there was pouring concrete for a theater, but soon a friend asked if he could construct a pool. Simpson said that once acquaintances found out Guiton had acquired this skill, they would ask him to build pools for them, too.

The pool business started slowly, but Guiton built a few installations every year until 1972, when he hired a salesperson. According to Simpson, Guiton built between 50 and 60 pools that year.

Eventually, he established a retail location and later added a service department for repairs and maintenance. But he never stopped building pools. Simpson estimated that Guiton was responsible for at least 3,500 pools in the Redding area.

“He was an extremely generous man,” Simpson said. “He helped a tremendous amount of people in the community, either through service organizations or individually.”

Guiton built his business on generosity and the idea of taking care of his customers and employees. The company motto is “For People Who Care,” and Guiton took it seriously.

“He really practiced treating your customers and employees justly and with care,” Simpson said. “He was always concerned with the welfare of the employees and their children. Some of these are clichés, but he did practice what was spoken.”

Simpson started working for Guiton in 1975 and quickly rose through the company. By 1981 he was a sales manager, and in 1991 he became the business manager and partner.

The company stayed in the family when Guiton sold it to Simpson in 2008. Simpson is married to Guiton’s daughter, Vicki.

“Dick gave me a tremendous amount of opportunity, and I’m very thankful for that,” Simpson said. “I hope to continue the legacy and follow the lead that he laid down.”

Outside the pool industry, Guiton was quite active in his community. In the early 1990s he started a program called Job Power, a pre-employment training and job placement program for Pioneer High School in Redding.

“[Dick] championed a number of projects for the betterment of the youth,” Simpson recalled. “He was instrumental in helping children continue in high school, helping guide them.”

Guiton also was active in Little League and other youth sports. The man was deeply religious and went on several missions, including one to Haiti.

Dick Guiton is survived by daughters Sheri Guiton, Vicki Simpson, Lori Ramirez, and son Mark Guiton.

“He was somewhat of the old guard and always did what was right,” Simpson said. “And for that he was very much respected.”