Saturday, February 4, 2006

Luna DiamondSecretary, Volunteer

Luna Diamond, 90, former secretary to the National Council on the Arts, died after a stroke Jan. 28 at Summerville Assisted Living in Potomac, where she lived.

Mrs. Diamond, once described by actor James Earl Jones as "the council's own Jewish mother," worked for the arts agency for 15 years. She became assistant to Roger Stevens at the newly formed National Endowment for the Arts in 1965. She later served as congressional liaison under chairman Nancy Hanks until retiring in 1980.

She previously had been a secretary to Clinton P. Anderson (D-N.M.), beginning in 1941 when he was a congressman, through his term as secretary of agriculture in the Truman administration, and into several of his terms as a senator.

A Washington native, Mrs. Diamond was part of the first graduating class at Theodore Roosevelt High School in 1933. She went on to Columbus School of Law at Catholic University but dropped out to care for an ailing parent.

She was a community volunteer throughout her life, at one point serving on 18 community boards, and was included in the book "Women of Achievement in Maryland History" (2002). She was a recipient of the Elliot Niles award from the B'nai B'rith and the Woman of Valor award in 1995. She was named Senior Volunteer of the Year by the Jewish Council for the Aging in 1994.

Her activism far predated the 1990s. Her mother took the 5-year-old Luna with her to visit patients at St. Elizabeths Hospital, and at age 9 she was a candy striper at Veterans Hospital. In a 1985 article in The Washington Post about the annual United Jewish Appeal, she recalled that "last year I raised . . . oh, I think it was $57,000." In 1985, she and her fellow volunteers racked up $3.64 million in pledges.

Mrs. Diamond received the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington's distinguished service award in 1986. She had served as president of the Washington Section of the National Council of Jewish Women and as president of the Washington Guitar Society.

She was a former president of the Senate Secretaries Association.

A member of the Washington Hebrew Congregation, she helped establish Morgan David Sephardic Synagogue in Bethesda.

Her husband of 57 years, Norman Diamond, died in 1999. A daughter, Bonnie Diamond, died in 1979.

Survivors include two children, Monty Diamond of New York City and Sarah Diamond of Aspen, Colo.; and a grandson.

Dan R. AndersVA Appeals Judge

Dan R. Anders, 72, a contract appeals judge with the Department of Veterans Affairs, died Jan. 4 of heart ailments at Tanner Medical Center in Carrollton, Ga. He lived in Carrollton.

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