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Laguna Beach


Tributes to Barbara Diamond

By DIANNE RUSSELL

A reflection of the special place Barbara Diamond had in the lives of so many residents, fond memories of her continue to pour in. All agree that she knew the pulse of Laguna like no other and reported with the utmost respect and consideration for all concerned. Barbara was the heart and soul of the community’s news, a gifted journalist, and a cherished friend. 

“Barbara knew everyone and the history of everything. She always worked to report the story in a balanced manner,” says City Manager John Pietig. “Her interview style was one of asking questions with the intent of gaining information and insight, not to try and capture a quote or statement to cast someone in a bad light. Nonetheless, she wrote the story as she saw it. 

“She was also at every significant town event, in the background, gathering information for her stories. Not to mention the hundreds of City Council meetings she attended while asking people to sign in so that their names could be accurately recorded for the record.

“In addition to her reporting skills, Barbara was a die-hard Angels fan and loved talking about them when she had time.

 “Barbara was unique, and I will miss her.”

Tributes to honoree luncheon

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Barbara at 2019 Patriots Day Parade Honorees Luncheon

Joan Gladstone remembers their business relationship – old school all the way. ‘“Drop the press release off to my house on Diamond Street,’” said Barbara Diamond. And I did, that day and for the next four years, when I did PR for the developers of Montage Laguna Beach. Barbara was old school, and not just because she didn’t have an email address. She was old school in ways I deeply admired. She was absolutely devoted to getting the facts straight and writing a balanced story. She was a consummate journalist and role model.”

From Stephany Skenderian, a member of the Birthday Club: 

“Barbara had a great laugh, a terrific smile, a spirited style, and many, many talents. As a friend you felt the warmth and depth of this special lady and oh, the stories! Barbara lived and enjoyed a full life. She will be missed.”

Another member of the Birthday Club, Anne Johnson says, “Somewhere in the room with pen poised over notepad, she waited for a nuance of context or even better, for a pithy quote to nail her story. At all our major City events, usually wearing red, and always with a touch of San Francisco panache, she warned us that with pen poised, we could be quoted. But pen gone and smiling warmly, she welcomed some of us into her private world as friends, and those of us admitted honored and treasured that friendship and can’t believe she has left us forever. Wherever she is, I hope there is pen and paper! We shall miss you at all our gatherings – both public and private, Dear Barbara.”

Tributes to notebook

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

On the job 

John Campbell remembers, “I always loved her personal license plate BFD, that was Barbara alright. Whenever she saw my wife Lu and I she would always come over to ask two questions, have you been to your place in Italy recently and how many miles did you bike today?

“My wife and I used to cycle quite a bit and since Lu and Barbara were the same age, she always marveled at how far Lu would ride her bike. Most of the time we would ride down Coast Hwy to Jamboree, take the Back Bay bike trail back to Laguna Canyon Road and back into Laguna, basically about 34 miles round trip. Well, one day Lu & I, to celebrate her 78th birthday, she wanted to ride 78 miles. So from our office on Forest Ave, we rode to the Santa Ana River trail, up that trail, past Anaheim stadium, past the Kaiser Hospital almost to Prado dam turning around at mile 39. By then we had a head wind riding back down the Santa Ana River trail, so Lu got behind me which was like riding behind a billboard for her and we made it to Huntington Beach to rest for a little bit, but then we were back on our bikes and we finally made it back to Laguna Beach. Well, when we told Barbara the story, you would have thought we just went to the moon and back. Remember, they were the same age. Barbara just shook her head in disbelief and congratulated Lu for her accomplishment.” 

Itributes to parade

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Grand Marshal Barbara at the 2020 Patriots Day Parade 

 “It’s like the lights went out when I heard that Barbara has passed,” says Mary Fegraus, a Laguna Beach resident since 1973. “We have lost another Laguna Treasure, one that knew our community inside and out. Barbara is our historian, one who took the time to get the story right. Always factual, but written with thoughtfulness and insight into the article subject. Barbara cared about our community and knew how to put that into words. I will always cherish the chats we had over the decades, whether it was a Planning Commission issues in the 1980s, preservation of the open space in the 1990s and onward to today, Barbara knew how to ask the question. Barbara wasn’t just about stories, she cared about you and your life. We have lost an icon, one that will be dearly missed by our community.”

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).

 

Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor & Writer.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are our photographers.

Alexis Amaradio, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Maggi Henrikson, Sara Hall, Stacia Stabler and Suzie Harrison are our writers and/or columnists.

In Memoriam - Stu Saffer and Barbara Diamond.

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