Tag Archives: Ted Diamond

Official Obituary: Ted Diamond

The Diamond family has released an obituary for Ted Diamond. The former 2nd Selectman, longtime civic volunteer and World War II hero died earlier this month. 

Theodore Diamond — a combat veteran, attorney, CEO and active citizen of Westport, died at home on August 2 as a consequence of Covid-19. He was 105 years old.

After serving as an infantry drill instructor, Ted volunteered to serve in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II. He was determined to fight, and became the lead navigator of a group of 28 planes flying 50 missions against the Nazis leaving from North Africa, Italy and Russia.

The missions were beyond dangerous — after 50 of them, only 3 original planes survived.

Ted Diamond

An  exhibition called “In Their Own Words: Jewish Veterans of World War II,” at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, opens with Ted’s words: “As a Jew, it was Hitler and me. That’s the way I pictured the war.”

For his service Ted received many medals and decorations, including 2 Distinguished Flying Crosses. He was proudest of the insignia of Chevalier of the Legion of Honor, France’s highest military medal.

Ted was totally engaged in Westport politics. He served 3 terms in the RTM, and 3 terms as 2nd Selectman.

He worked on many projects in Westport. Three stand out, and helped
to form the character of the town.

The first was the town’s acquisition of Longshore Country Club, and the upgrading of the clubhouse.

The second was working with the modernization of the Fire
Department, to help it become one of the finest and most professional departments in Connecticut.

Finally, and probably most important to the town, Ted led a community movement to prevent the development of a shopping mall. Instead, the town purchased the land that has now become Winslow Park.

Ted Diamond delivers an RTM invocation. (Photo/Dave Matlow)

Born on July 3, 1917 in New York City, Ted was the son of Isador Diamond and Sadie (Drath). Diamond. His parents had recently immigrated from Europe, had limited proficiency in English and were very poor. To contribute money to the family, Ted worked from the age of 8 in a grocery store and drug store.

Ted learned to read early. When a mobile library unit came monthly to his community of Far Rockaway, he borrowed and read as many books as he could.

A teacher in Ted’s elementary school recognized his talents, and encouraged him to take the competitive exam for placement in an elite public school, Townsend-Harris.

He was admitted, and the experience changed his life. It introduced him to college level study, school government, world affairs, and a community of achievers within which he excelled.

Following high school, Ted graduated from St. John’s University, and received his law degree from Columbia University. He was drafted shortly after graduating from law school.

Before he flew overseas, he met Carol Simon for 2 hours at a party. He told his flight crew that if she were still available after the war, he would marry her.

In 1946 they married. They shared an intense love for 75 years, until her death in March 2022.

From 1946 until 1950, Ted practiced in a small law firm specializing in civil rights and labor law.

In 1950 he joined Composition Materials. Ted developed, manufactured and marketed diverse materials used in industries from oil well drilling to airplane maintenance to the composition of running tracks. He worked at Composition Materials until he was 87.

Ted is survived by his sons William and Jonathan; daughter-in-law Harriet; grandsons Theodore and Noah, and great-grandchildren Peter, June and

A celebration of Ted’s life will be held Sunday September 18 (11 a.m., MoCA Westport).

Contributions in his memory may be made to: ACLU Connecticut, 765 Asylum Avenue, Hartford, CT 06105.

At 98, Ted Diamond served as grand marshal of Westport’s Memorial Day parade. (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

Roundup: Ted Diamond, Twiddle, Epstein …

In the days following Ted Diamond’s death at 105, Westporters have shared memories of the World War II hero, former 2nd Selectman and 67-year Westport friend and neighbor.

Scott Smith shares something else: a pair of videos.

In 2010, Smith chaired the town’s 50th-anniversary celebration of the purchase of Longshore. As part of the event, he conducted a series of interviews with longtime residents.

In this clip, Diamond describes how he and 1st Selectwoman Jacqueline Heneage worked to save the Inn at Longshore:

Smith also interviewed Diamond and Victor DeMaria about their Longshore memories:


Speaking of videos: A capacity crowd welcomed Twiddle last weekend, for a 2-day Levitt Pavilion festival.

They were not disappointed. The Vermont-based jam band put on great shows.

And Twiddle was not disappointed with Westport.

Yesterday on Facebook they said: “Still thinking about how incredible last weekend was at Levitt Pavilion in Westport, CT. So much love for everyone who came out and joined us. See you tonight in Wisconsin for Phlowfest.”

They also uploaded a fantastic video of their shows to social media. Their videographer captured the music, the audience, and some killer drone footage too.

We’re not quite Woodstock or Newport. But it makes us look pretty damn close. Click here to see.

Screen shot from the Levitt Pavilion Twiddle Festival.


Speaking of the Levitt Pavilion: There are many things to worry about in Westport.

Having a concert stage named for a convicted sex offender and disgraced financier is not one of them.

At 9 p.m. last night, I got an email from a worried Westporter. She said: “This stage name for Levitt Pavilion is a disgrace for Westport. Can you investigate? Just trying to enjoy a nice night at Levitt Pavillon. My visitors are very concerned about my home. EPSTEIN?”

It’s okay.

The handsome stage was named — and dedicated — in 2015. It honors Geri and David Epstein, in recognition of their $500,000 gift during the renovation of the outdoor entertainment center.

Relax. Chill. Enjoy the show!

Tens of thousands of people enjoy the Levitt Pavilion every year. I Before last night, I don’t think anyone thought the stage was named for Jeffrey Epstein. (Photo/JC Martin)


“Westport … Naturally” has featured ospreys on the Post Road by Fresh Market, and at Longshore, Sherwood Mill Pond and Burying Hill Beach.

There’s osprey on Cockenoe Island too. Carl McNair snapped this photo of the much-less-noticed raptor:

(Photo/Carl McNair)


And finally … on this date in 1789, the US established the Department of War.

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Ted Diamond’s Legacy

Kerstin Rao retired in 2021, after 2 decades as a teacher in Bedford Middle School’s gifted program.

Among her many wonderful experiences was the chance to meet World War II Army Air Corps combat navigator Ted Diamond. He died on Tuesday, at 105.

The longtime Westporter — who (among many other accomplishments) served 3 terms as 2nd Selectman — made quite a mark on Kerstin’s students.

And on her. She writes:

When I read on “06880” that Ted Diamond had passed, I found my heart filled with gratitude for the brief times I got to know him during his Veterans Day visits, when I taught at Bedford Middle School.

For at least 2 decades, possibly longer, Bedford’s 8th grade social studies teachers have organized visits by local veterans each November. The impact of these visits is often profound. Students would come into my classes the rest of the week bringing up points the veterans had talked about, wondering what they would have done if they were in the same situation, and curious about ways to serve the country.

Kerstin Rao and Ted Diamond.

My classroom was usually the gathering place as veterans arrived. The PTA would put together a breakfast, and the vets used that morning time to catch up with longtime friends. There was plenty of talk of grandchildren, ailments, and some razzing between the branches of service. However, I also observed how the older vets were genuinely curious to hear from the younger service members about their experiences.

Whenever I could, I brought my sketch journal. I quietly sat in the back of different classrooms as the vets shared their stories. Some years I made drawings of the men and women as they spoke, jotting down the insights that moved my heart. I’m glad I captured a sketch of Ted and some of his thoughts in my journal.

In 2016, Ted told how some men in his unit held deep racial biases. But when they were pinned down and the Tuskegee Airmen saved their lives, those biases were obliterated.

Kerstin Rao’s 2016 journal includes a sketch of Ted Diamond, and some of the important ideas he shared with Bedford Middle School 8th graders.

In 2017, he brought a photo of his unit. He pointed to a few faces, saying this one was from Michigan, this one was from Colorado. He said he could have brought photos of his wing shot off, or the engine of the plane across the way on fire, but to him, this was the single most important picture. He wanted the students to understand that no matter where we are from, we are one country, working together.

A photo Ted Diamond (top row, 2nd from right) shared with the students.

Ted Diamond stood out to me because every year, without fail, his stories focused on our shared humanity. He had a graciousness and gentle humor that made his listeners lean in. He took us into the moment during pivotal times of his World War II battle experiences. He always left us with the message that we have far more in common than we realize, and this is where the true promise of our country resides.

In my lifetime, I’ve never witnessed such bitter division in America as we have lived through these past few years. Nationally and locally, I am troubled to notice a greater willingness to violate the rights of others, speak in inflamed rhetoric without a willingness to listen, and openly expressed innuendo that violence could be inevitable.

Violence is not inevitable.

Discord is not inevitable.

When we pause a moment, we realize that we dishonor the legacy of our veterans if we allow our country to erode from within. I heard this expressed by several veterans over the years. If Ted has left us a call to action, it is this: Each of us has a choice. We could pull further apart, or we could strengthen our country by working together. We can choose integrity, understanding, and connection which becomes a service to our country.

For this message which guides my own path forward, I am truly grateful. Thank you, Ted.


Ted Diamond’s family is still preparing his obituary. But they sent along a few photos. Here is a century-plus, of a well-lived life.

Ted Diamond is the youngest child in this photo.

Ted Diamond, as a World War II Army Air Corps combat navigator.

Ted and Carol Diamond’s wedding. They were married for 75 years.

Ted and Carol Diamond, and their 2 sons.

Carol and Ted Diamond.

Ted Diamond, looking pensive.

Ted Diamond, with his great-grandson Peter.

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Remembering Ted Diamond

Ted Diamond — proud World War II veteran, longtime local volunteer, former 2nd selectman, Memorial Day parade grand marshal, and beloved Westporter – died Tuesday night, of complications from COVID. He was 105 years old.

Ted died less than 5 months after his wife Carol. She was 100. They were married for 75 years.

An Army Air Corps combat navigator with the 15th Air Force, Ted flew 50 World War II missions over highly secured military installations across Europe. He often led groups of 28 B-17s.

Seven years ago — on his 98th birthday — Ted received France’s highest medal: the insignia of Chevalier (knight) of the Legion of Honor.

The award — established by Napoleon in 1802 — acknowledged his enduring contribution to the success of Operation Dragoon, a military campaign to free the nation from Nazi domination.

Ted Diamond, at this year’s Memorial Day ceremony.

He spent more than two-third of his life — 67 years — in Westport. In addition to 3 terms as 2nd selectman, he was an RTM member, and volunteered on numerous town committees, commissions and boards.

In 2007, Ted served as grand marshal of the Memorial Day parade. He attended nearly every one since moving here — including this past May. Surrounded by admirers, he always made sure to acknowledge the sacrifices of others.

Ted Diamond in May, at this year’s Memorial Day parade. (Photo/Ted Horowitz)

In 2019, 102-year-old Ted was honored at a Bedford Middle School Veterans Day ceremony. He met with 8th graders, and — in firm, clear tones — described his wartime experiences, and the lessons learned from them.

A memorial service will be held at a later date. A full obituary will be posted when it is available.

Ted Diamond and his wife Carol, at a 2018 “town hall” meeting with Congressman Jim Himes.


Memorial Day 2022 — Gallery #3

Today’s Memorial Day parade route wound from Riverside Avenue and the Post Road to Myrtle Avenue. It ended by Town Hall, with an important ceremony of remembrance.

Here is “06880”‘s third set of photos, from Myrtle and  Veterans Green.

The Carpenters’ house on Myrtle Avenue evokes the Memorial Day spirit. (Photo/Dan Woog)

A proud veteran. (Photo/Ted Horowitz)

Tim Harmon has a ringside seat. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Once again, the Y’s Men’s float won “Best Overall.” It saluted Francis Scott Key, and the “Star-Spangled Banner.” (photo/Dan Woog)

After years of marching, former 1st Selectman Jim Marpe enjoys the parade from the sidelines — with his grandson. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Police Chief Foti Koskinas (right) and Deputy Chief Sam Arciola flank honorary police officer Dylan Curran. (Photo/Dan Woog)

A large flag earns a spot of honor. (Photo/Ted Horowitz)

Staples High School percussionist Witt Lindau. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Grand marshal Jean Wells turns 105 years young today. The crowd serenaded her with “Happy Birthday.” (Photo/Ted Horowitz)

World War II veteran Ted Diamond is 105 on July 3. He was only the 2nd oldest servicemember at the parade. (Photo/Ted Horowitz)

Leonard Everett Fisher will be 98 next month. He was the 3rd oldest World War II veteran today. Like Ted Diamond, he still fits into his uniform. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Bill Vornkahl has organized and run Westport’s Memorial Day celebration for 5 decades. He is truly “Mr. Parade.” (Photo/Ted Horowitz)

The Staples High School Band performs a medley of armed forces songs. (Photo/Dan Woog)

The Honor Guard includes members of several different wars. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Athena Ploumis Bradley and her husband arrived too late for the ceremony. But her patriotic look summed up the day. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Remembering Carol Diamond

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.

Carol and Ted Diamond on Veterans Green before the 2014 Memorial Day ceremony. 

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.

Ted and Carol Diamond in 2017, at a Bedford Middle School “town hall” meeting with Congressman Jim Himes.

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.

Happy 102nd Birthday, Ted Diamond!

Ted Diamond is a Westport jewel.

Today, the longtime resident celebrates his 102nd birthday. And what a 10-plus-decade life it’s been.

Diamond served as an Army Air Corps combat navigator with the 15th Air Force. He flew 50 missions over highly secured military installations throughout Europe, often leading a group of 28 B-17s.

Four years ago — on his 98th birthday — he received France’s highest medal: the insignia of Chevalier (knight) of the Legion of Honor.

The award — established by Napoleon in 1802 — acknowledged Diamond’s enduring contribution to the success of Operation Dragoon, a military campaign to free the nation from Nazi domination.

Ted Diamond, at the 2017 Memorial Day ceremony.

He has spent the last 64 years in Westport. In addition to 3 terms as 2nd selectman, he was an RTM member, and volunteered on numerous town committees, commissions and boards.

In 2007, he served as grand marshal of Westport’s Memorial Day parade.

Happy birthday, Ted Diamond. Have a sparkling day!

Calling All Veterans!

Like a true veteran, Ted Diamond keeps serving.

He’s 100 years old. He’s a former Memorial Day parade grand marshal.

And he wants to make sure that every vet — particularly those who, like he, served in World War II — get a chance to participate in the event.

For the past 10 years, he has arranged transportation in the parade. Once again, he’s made sure there are a few cars available, for vets to ride in.

Any veterans wishing to participate next Monday should call Ted (203-227-7680), or e-mail him: tdiamon2@optonline.net.

As for the rest of us: We’ll line the route, waving and giving our thanks.

Ted Diamond, at last year’s Memorial Day ceremony.


Unsung Heroes #29

As Westport turns the page on a new year, it’s fitting to honor 2 longtime residents who show us — every day — that age is only a number.

Ted Diamond turned 100 in July. An Army Air Corps combat navigator with the 15th Air Force, he flew 50 World War II missions over highly secured military installations across Europe, often leading a group of 28 B-17s.

Two years ago — on his 98th birthday — he received France’s highest medal: the insignia of Chevalier (knight) of the Legion of Honor.

The award — established by Napoleon in 1802 — acknowledged Diamond’s enduring contribution to the success of Operation Dragoon, a military campaign to free the nation from Nazi domination.

Ted Diamond, at this year’s Memorial Day ceremony.

He has spent the last 62 years in Westport. In addition to 3 terms as 2nd selectman, he was an RTM member, and volunteered on numerous town committees, commissions and boards.

In 2007, Diamond served as grand marshal of Westport’s Memorial Day parade. He has attended nearly every one since moving here — and already looks forward to next May.

Irene Backalenick had a long career as a New York Times journalist. Then — after earning a Ph.D. in theater history — she became a noted theater reviewer.

In her 90s she turned to poetry. She’s published many times, and has fans in far-flung places.

She and a tight-knit group of 5 women — including longtime Westport writer Gloria Sugarman — meet regularly, in a writers’ workshop.

Irene Backalenick

Irene posts some of her poems on Facebook. Others are on her personal blog.

Ted and Irene have added much to Westport, for so many years. Their countless friends wish them another year filled with good health, great happiness, love and joy.

(To nominate an Unsung Hero, email dwoog@optonline.net)

Jarret Liotta’s Movies Hit Home

Jarret Liotta has a love-hate relationship with Westport.

After college, the Staples High School graduate spent years in Los Angeles. The journalist was a regular New York Times correspondent, and contributed to 100 publications.

But in 2008, he returned to give his kids some suburban experience.

Now — with nearly a decade back home, as a freelance writer and photographer — he’s gained a new appreciation for Westport’s uniqueness. He’s deepened old relationships, and made new acquaintances.

Jarret Liotta

“Sad to say, many of us are so paralyzed by the fear-based myths of being ‘practical’ that we shun the directions our hearts want to lead us,” he says.

“Instead we waste time talking ourselves into believing we’re happily situated in our work life.”

Two years ago, he decided to go all-in pursuing film and video — interests he’d had since dabbling in them decades ago at Coleytown Junior High.

He wrote “Home Movie,” a feature-length dark comedy. Filmed entirely in Westport, it’s the story of a young woman’s trip back to her hometown after her father dies.

But the title also refers to the help Liotta got from many local people and groups, including the Westport Woman’s Club, Senior Center, Police Department, Kaia Yoga, 323 restaurant, Gold’s Deli, even the Harding Funeral Home.

A Kickstarter campaign — running through Thanksgiving — will help him place “Home Movie” in film festivals.

A scene from “Home Movie” …

While working on that project, Liotta talked with Bill Harmer. The Westport Library director mentioned that his previous library in Michigan was involved with films on local subjects.

Bob Mitchell of the Westport Historical Society heard that Liotta was interested in a Westport-based documentary. He suggested veterans.

“I’ve always been a dove,” Liotta says. “I’ve had relatively set ideas about the military, and what I imagined was a typical veteran.”

But he liked the idea. After each interview, his impressions evolved.

“On a personal level, it was very enlightening,” he explains. “I found myself understanding many positive aspects about the involvement I wouldn’t otherwise have considered.”

… and one from his veterans’ documentary.

Liotta started with World War II veterans, including well-known Westporters Leonard Everett Fisher, Ted Diamond and Bob Satter. Some he knew personally. Others, he says, “I had the good fortune to meet.”

While he still considers any kind of military machine “repugnant” — though “perhaps necessary” — he now has a different perspective on those who choose to serve.

“The people I interviewed seem to recognize the tremendous value in living a service attitude — giving back or taking responsibility to help their larger community,” Liotta says.

“That’s a brilliant and honorable concept. To me, that’s really the core reason to honor veterans.”

Right now, Liotta is editing the film. It’s called “Community & Country: A Spirit of Service.” It will be shown at Town Hall on Monday, November 13 (7 p.m.)

He hopes the library and Historical Society will make copies available after it’s screened.

That will be their — and his — way of giving back, just as our veterans have done.