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Remembering Barbara Diamond

By DIANNE RUSSELL

All who knew Barbara Diamond are still reeling from the news of her passing. Today – and in Friday’s edition – friends and colleagues offer their thoughts and memories in loving tribute. 

“I have so many memories of Barbara, all good,” says Kelly Boyd, former Laguna Beach Mayor. “I enjoyed getting her phone calls, not always about council business. They would start with ‘on the record’ or ‘off the record.’ We would have some very interesting conversations.

“Knowing I would be leaving the council soon, at one of my last meetings as Mayor, I made sure to recognize and honor Barbara with a proclamation at a council meeting. She was not happy with me for putting her in the spotlight, but still she said, ‘I love you.’ Coming from Barbara, that was a real compliment. I loved her also.

“I will miss you to the moon, as will all that knew you. RIP.”

Remembering Barbara Kelly Boyd

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

On July 24, 2018, (then) Mayor Kelly Boyd honored Barbara with a Proclamation: NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that I, Kelly Boyd, Mayor of the City of Laguna Beach, California, do hereby proclaim that Barbara F. Diamond (BFD) is a highly-respected, trusted and talented Laguna Beach legend, resident and journalist.

Barbara was cherished and respected by her colleagues at Stu News and all her friends, old and new.

Former Stu News Editor Lynette Brasfield says, “I will miss Barbara. She was an excellent journalist and an extraordinary woman. When I became editor after Stu died, she was extremely supportive, welcoming me into the fold and introducing me to her friends, many of whom are Laguna’s movers and shakers. Knowing I didn’t enjoy small talk, she told me sternly that I needed to network, though, she said, she had worked with enough editors to know that wasn’t their favorite thing. I was in awe of her journalistic skills, her kindness, her sense of humor, and her willingness to attend nearly every Council meeting and nearly every nonprofit gala. Talk about stamina! I don’t think I ever saw her without a notebook in her hand.”

Laura Buckle, former colleague of Barbara’s, says, “Like many people in Laguna, my knowledge of Barbara started by reading Stu News. I had no idea of who she was or where she lived, but I always thought that her writing was so detailed and also very non-biased in an arena where it is so hard to hold back at times.

“When I started writing for Stu News in 2015, I was invited to a birthday ‘mixer’ and that was the first time I met Barbara Diamond. She was strong, witty, quick, vibrant, beautifully dressed, and told me that she had recently visited Watermarc for brunch off the basis of my review (I took that as a huge compliment). We talked about England, she loved it so much, about her past, how she had always been a journalist, her journey to Laguna Beach, our children (and her case grandchildren), and about the death of her beloved son. I came away even more in awe of this huge personality. 

“During our conversation, she told me lived on Diamond Street and once a month or so I would knock on her red door and say, ‘hi,’ and she was always so gracious and loved a cup of tea!

“Once, due to her ill health, I covered for her during an election night at the Playhouse. It was one of the most challenging writing roles I’ve ever had – using recording, dictation, and shorthand – to document the council members battling. She sent me a note a couple of weeks later saying I did a great job. I don’t know how she managed it every week. 

“I hadn’t seen her in a while. I moved out of Woods Cove and COVID-19 kept me away. I’m sad, and I wish I’d listened to one more story. Luckily, we have pages and pages of her words to remind us of the wonderful woman she was.

“My thoughts are with your family, ‘Barbara Diamond of Diamond Street.’ I will miss you lots xo.” 

Remembering Barbara glasses

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Barbara at State of the City meeting on May 6, 2019

“Barbara Diamond painted with words,” says Denny Freidenrich. “Early Laguna artists like Anna Hills, William Wendt, and Edgar Payne painted gorgeous landscapes. Reporter Barbara Diamond, who suddenly passed away last week, ‘painted’ pictures of today’s Laguna with her words. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If you wanted to know what was happening in town, you had to read Barbara’s posts. She clearly understood that a picture was worth a thousand words, maybe more. Write on, Barbara. You will be missed.” 

Former Mayor Elizabeth Pearson recalls memories of a special club. “The Birthday Club originated on Barbara’s birthday, November 2nd. I had a party for her with the people on the list below in attendance and we all had such a good time, we decided to make it a ‘club’ where we all celebrated together. 

“We would take turns hosting a dinner, cocktail, or dinners to celebrate the
birthdays – so we could all come together again. 

Remembering Barbara with Elizabeth

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Submitted photo

Barbara and Elizabeth Pearson 

“We traveled to Carol Reynolds’ family home in Cape May, which gave us the picture (below). We also got together and rented a limo to go to the horse races in Del Mar and Santa Anita and would drink champagne in the limo. 

“Barbara once thanked me for creating the Birthday Club, which started with
her, because she hadn’t really become close to too many people in Laguna –
and that this gave her a group of friends that she cherished. 

January party – January 1, Elizabeth Pearson; January 13, Martha Anderson 

March party – March 16, Kristine Thalman; March 20, Stephany Skenderian

April 7 – Carol Reynolds 

May 11 – Peggy Ford 

June party – June 1, Martha Lydick; June 8, Anne Johnson

July 22 – Kathleen Blackburn 

August 31 – Renae Hinchey 

November party – always at Elizabeth’s

November 2 – Barbara Diamond 

December party – Lunch, always at Barbara’s

December 1 –  Cheryl Kinsman

Remembering Barbara birthday club

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Submitted photo

The Birthday Club on vacation a Carol Reynolds’ family home in Cape May, New Jersey

Johanna Felder says, “Laguna will miss Barbara Diamond. I knew Barbara for over 30 years and always admired her devotion to reporting the local news. She would sit through those city meetings hour after hour and week after week. She was a journalist in the real sense of the word. I always knew she would not only accurately quote me but would also be fair in her reporting. No one will be able to fill those high heel shoes.”

“I am shocked and saddened to hear the news of Barbra Diamond’s passing. I am in tears. I will never forget Barbara and how incredibly welcoming she was to me when I started in my position nearly 25 years ago,” says Sharbie Higuchi, Director of Marketing/PR at the Festival of Arts. “At that time, she worked for the Laguna News-Post and her office was in the ‘pink’ building. I remember her office filled with stacks of papers as she offered her advice and knowledge about Laguna to me with a comforting smile. Always smartly dressed and a pad of paper in hand. I will sorely miss her…a true pillar for the news community and Laguna Beach.” 

From Charles Michael Murray, “Barbara is and will always be a pillar of the community breeze of Integrity, Past, Present & Future. Her view, words, voice, and smile will prevail with the coastal winds that will continue to embrace our Laguna Beach. Thank you, Barbara.”

To submit your remembrances of Barbara for publication, email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For those wishing to donate to Barbara’s LBHS Scholarship Fund, please send donations to: LBHSSF, P.O. Box 1569, Laguna Beach, CA 92652. Please include “Barbara Diamond Excellence in Journalism Award,” to be placed on the memo line or written separately and included in the envelope. All donations are tax-deductible; LBHSSF is a 501 (c)(3).