By James Lomuscio
Westporters Ted and Carol Diamond celebrated their 74th wedding anniversary recently at home with Champagne, caviar and a multitude of phone calls and emails from family and friends.
And on Friday, July 3, the Diamonds will share another milestone. Ted, who served two terms as second selectman from 1973 to 1981, turns 103.
For a man who has lived through two world wars, not to mention two pandemics, Ted, interestingly, does not seem old. Just talk to him. His voice is authoritative yet welcoming, and he still seems robust despite breaking his hip four weeks ago and having a new one put in.
“All the doctors always told me never to fall, but I went down like I was shot,” Ted said. “I was just going out for a walk in the driveway, and I tripped over my walker.”
“I’m getting better,” he added. “They gave me a new hip, a titanium hip.”
Ted, who gave up driving at 100, said he’s determined to get back to his post-retirement hobby of making jewelry.
“I have two rings in the basement that have to be finished,” he said. “I give all the jewelry I make away to friends. That and playing bridge are wonderful hobbies.”
A 1941 graduate of Columbia University’s School of Law and who as a U.S. Army Air Corps navigator led 50 bombing missions against the Nazis, Ted Diamond’s life reads like an adventure story, even in Westport where the Diamonds live in the same home they bought in 1955.
Westport at the time seemed to fit perfectly between his heavy work schedule that had him traveling between New York City and Lowell, Massachusetts where the plant he owned manufactured an artificial leather product used industrially.
Still he was encouraged by Carol to make time for his hometown. He served on the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) from 1961 to 1967, where he chaired the RTM Recreation Committee. He, along with local editor Jo Fox and others, also rallied support to stop a planned nuclear power plant on Cockenoe Island during the 1960s, and he was instrumental in pushing the restoration of the Inn at Longshore after the town purchased it.
When he retired at 87, Ted began looking for a hobby. Before long, a course in jewelry making at the Silvermine School of Art caught his eye, and the result has been countless pendants, rings, necklaces and bracelets going out to the couple’s many friends and family members. He also kept active in the Westport Democratic Town Committee, the Y’s Men and the Westport Center for Senior Activities.
He said he and Carol miss going to the Senior Center, which has remained closed since the COVID-19 outbreak. But, he said, his friends there have kept in touch.
“This is what’s exciting, the number of calls I keep getting,” he said from center members who heard he had broken his hip. “I didn’t know how many people were concerned. I’m just a hell of a lucky guy. And (Senior Center Director Sue Pfister) is an exceptional individual. She’s more than nice. She’s great.”
Since the Diamonds remain home to stay safe from the coronavirus, their son Jonathan Diamond, 67 of Wilton, goes grocery shopping for them.
“He wears a mask and gloves and is very helpful,” Ted said.
The Diamonds have another son Bill Diamond, 70, two grandchildren and three great grandchildren, “and there all great,” Ted says.
“You’ve got to be lucky,” he said crediting his long life to a good marriage. “And, I find that you have to be kind. It’s like a mirror. Most people respond to kindness.”
And about getting back on his feet with the new hip?
“I just think he’s spectacular in his persistence to get better,” Carol said. “He’s overworking to get better.
“It’s just been a wonderful life,” she added.