Arthur Diamonstein

by | Sep 8, 2022 | Obituaries

Norfolk—Arthur Diamonstein, 92, died peacefully on August 14 in his home at Harbor’s Edge surrounded by his loving family.

Arthur was born on March 11, 1930 in Norfolk, Va. He was predeceased by his wife, Renee Gartner Diamonstein. His parents, Albert and Ida Goldblatt Diamonstein, his brother, Robert Diamonstein, and his stepmother, Ida H. Diamonstein, also predeceased him.

Arthur grew up in the Larchmont section of Norfolk and graduated from Maury High School in 1948. He went on to attend Virginia Polytechnic Institute (Virginia Tech) majoring in Business Administration. He served his country with great pride in the Korean War as part of the Army’s 45th Thunderbird Division until the end of the conflict, being awarded a Purple Heart for his bravery. He then served in the Army Reserves until he was honorably discharged in August of 1960.

Following active duty, Arthur returned home and began work at Paramount Bedding, the family mattress manufacturing business founded in 1935 and originally operated by the Comess and Diamonstein families. Arthur served in many capacities at Paramount, starting out as a truck driver and shipping supervisor and rising through the ranks. After learning all aspects of the business, he ultimately became president and guided the company through a sustained period of growth. He valued his relationships with the employees of the company, including multiple generations of families. Until the outbreak of COVID-19, Arthur came to work every day, even after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, just to continue to feel the pulse of the organization he helped build. He remained chairman of the board until his recent illness.

Arthur was a generous and caring man whose devotion to his community and family was the very essence of his life, serving on numerous boards with a humble nature. He was the ultimate pragmatist and had a gift for making deals happen. The many community organizations and roles he dedicated his time to include Norfolk Academy, Board of Trustees and vice president of buildings and grounds; Old Dominion University, Board of Visitors and Rector; Chrysler Museum of Art, Board of Trustees and treasurer; The General Douglas MacArthur Foundation, Board of Trustees and chairman; Fort Norfolk Retirement Center also known as Harbor’s Edge, Board of Trustees and chairman; and the boards of Virginia Opera, Tidewater Winds, Virginia Symphony, and Ohef Sholom Temple. Additionally, Arthur served as chairman of the board of directors of the Norfolk Convention and Visitors Bureau and he was proud to say that under his leadership the Bureau made significant steps in positioning Norfolk as a prime Mid-Atlantic tourism and meeting destination. The Cosmopolitan Club recognized Arthur as Norfolk’s First Citizen for 2001, honoring his lifelong commitment to his hometown.

Arthur married the love of his life, the late Renee Gartner Diamonstein, in 1955. They were married for nearly 64 years until Renee’s passing in 2019. Arthur and Renee raised their family in the famous “round house” in Norfolk’s Algonquin Park.

He is survived by his three children and their spouses: Richard Diamonstein (Beth), Jamie Diamonstein (Carol), and Anne Fleder (Lawrence). He was also blessed with seven grandchildren, Joshua (Cara), Eric (Callie), Claire, Emily, Alyson, Kendall, and Audrey. In his final years, Arthur lit up whenever he was able to see and hold his three great-grandchildren. When he could not see them, he was able to watch plenty of videos and have FaceTime calls with Georgia, Riley, and Barrett Diamonstein.

Renee and Arthur traveled the world, visiting many places and experiencing many cultures, creating wonderful memories and photo albums along the way. He was not shy about giving Renee credit for his interests in art and travel. Renee and Arthur were dedicated to their community and gave generously of their time and talent.

Arthur was a visionary. He was relentless in keeping in shape, enjoying his weekly tennis matches and cycling or walking the streets of Norfolk long before that was considered “a thing,” as well as boating and fishing. He loved to tell jokes and make people laugh. In essence, Arthur was a friend to everyone who had the pleasure of knowing him.

The family had a private burial. A memorial service and reception will take place on September 14 at 11 am at Ohef Sholom Temple in Norfolk. Rabbi Rosalin Mandelberg will officiate. Memorial donations may be made to The General Douglas MacArthur Foundation and The Chrysler Museum of Art, Arthur and Renee Diamonstein Glass Purchase Fund or a charity of the donor’s choice. H.D. Oliver Funeral Apartments Norfolk Chapel.