Carol Diamond — for decades one of Westport’s most active volunteers, and with her husband Ted, our town’s most noted centenarian couple — died of pneumonia on March 10, at Norwalk Hospital. She was 100 years old.
Her obituary calls her an “ad agency CEO, public housing advocate, writer, book editor and human rights activist.” It continues:
A gifted writer, she used her abilities and great intelligence to make the world and her community better and fairer. She mentored younger women, and served as a patient escort at a women’s health clinic.
Carol was as curious as she was compassionate. She loved books. and was constantly learning and exchanging ideas through book groups and clubs that she helped to organize. Fascinated by words — their meanings and origins — she was known to read the dictionary for pleasure.
It was a life of activism, engagement and connection. A former president of the Y’s Women, an organization that serves as a social and career network for women in Fairfield County, she also was a past vice president and treasurer of the Westport Library.
An active canvasser on the state and local levels since the early 1950s, she received the esteemed “Silver Donkey” award for her years of service to the Democratic Party.
Carol was born on Nov. 13, 1921, in New York City. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Smith College in 1942. As president of the political action committee, she brought Eleanor Roosevelt to campus to speak.
In 1944 she obtained employment with the Newark Local Housing Authority, surveying impoverished housing conditions in that city. Later that year she joined the Federal Housing Administration, working to create affordable living facilities for veterans.
In 1946 she married Theodore Diamond, to whom she would be devoted for the next 75 years. The couple moved to Westport in 1955, where they remained throughout her life, and where their sons went from kindergarten through high school. She loved Westport, and said. “I feel I have always lived here.”
In the 1950s and ’60s,Carol found a way to balance work and family life that could have been an early model for the women’s movement.
She worked for Westport radio station WMMM, broadcasting programs that highlighted community activities. She then served as a deputy director for a Bridgeport anti-poverty agency, before starting her own advertising firm. But she found time to attend every parent-teacher conference and recital — and to worry about (and check) her children’s homework.
Her marriage to Ted was legendary. They politicked together (when he campaigned for local government, she edited his speeches), protested together (demonstrating against the Iraq war and composing letters of outrage during the Trump years), and traveled the world together (visiting 120 countries on 60 trips).
They were inseparable; they were utterly engaged with each other, and as Carol said recently, the enforced isolation of COVID only brought them closer. “I fall in love with the same guy every morning of my life,” she said.
In addition to her husband she is survived by her sons William and Jonathan; daughter-in- law Harriet; grandsons Theodore and Noah, and great-grandchildren Peter, June and Beatrix.
A celebration of her life will be held at the Westport Library on Sunday, April 3 at 10:30 a.m., followed by a reception at the Westport Woman’s Club.
Contributions in her memory may be made to the Westport Library.