• Remembering Hugh Hefner, Pool Innovator

    by Bruce Riley October 2017

    Hugh Hefner passed away last week, and while he’ll be remembered for many things (both famously and infamously), in my eyes, he’ll always be remembered for his role in the pool and spa industry.

    In 1973, Hefner built the Playboy mansion pool and, perhaps more importantly, the legendary grotto. The grotto was built with natural stones weighing as much as 3 tons, and held together with over 100 yards of concrete. At the time, the grotto was a unique concept, one that spurred...

  • Dino Prisco Passes Away After 50 Years in the Industry

    by AQUA Editors September 2017

    Dino Prisco, founder and owner of Prisco Spas & Pools (Yonkers, N.Y.), died August 11 while surrounded by his family. He was 77 years old.

    Prisco’s career in the pool and spa industry spanned 50 years, starting shortly after his family emigrated from L’Aquila, Italy in 1957. He worked two years at a landscaping business...

  • In Memoriam: Jim O'Brien of Odyssey Systems

    by AQUA Editors September 2017

    Longtime industry veteran James O’Brien, vice president of sales and marketing for Odyssey Systems, passed away September 13 after a courageous battle with aplastic anemia.

    O’Brien was born August 11, 1946 in Los Angeles, Calif. As a child of two Disney artists, he spent his childhood in Burbank and Hidden Hills, Calif., and graduated...

  • Industry Pro Dies in Barcelona Attack

    by AQUA Editors August 2017

    The pool and spa industry lost one of its own last week. Jared Tucker, son of Chlorine Genie inventor Dan Tucker, was killed in the terrorist attack in Barcelona, Spain; he was the sole American to perish.

    Jared was active in the pool and spa industry his whole life, working alongside his dad at Chlorine Genie and Fiberglass Pool Resurfacing. He was in Barcelona with his wife, Heidi, celebrating their first wedding anniversary with a trip to Italy, France and Spain.

    After a...

  • Adolph Kiefer: A Life Aquatic

    by Eric Herman July 2017

    When Adolph Kiefer passed away at his home May 5 in Wadsworth, Ill., at age 98, the world of aquatics lost one of its most enduring icons. Among his many accolades: at the time of his death, Kiefer was America’s oldest living Olympic champion.

    He rose to fame at age 17 at the 1936 Olympic games in Berlin, known as “the Nazi Olympics,” where he won the gold medal in the 100-meter backstroke. Hitler shook his hand in congratulation, but Kiefer later said that if he had known what...

  • Founder of Insulated Pool Kits Passes Away at 74

    by AQUA Editors June 2017

    Richard W. Rowland, founder and former owner of Insulated Pool Kits in Calif, passed away March 31 after a long illness. He served as a military frogman from 1960-61 and is a Master Mason of 40 years. Rowland was 74 when he passed.

    “He built his first pool in the '70s in Enid, Okla., then built pools for his buddies in the oil industry,” says Rowland’s wife, Jeffrie. “From there he got in the...

  • Anthony & Sylvan Pools Mourns Founder Herman Silverman

    by AQUA Editors June 2017

    Anthony & Sylvan Pools announced that one of its founders, Herman Silverman, died at his home in Middletown, Pa., on Wednesday, May 31 at the age of 97.

    Silverman’s first foray into swimming pool building was in his own backyard. After hearing about his backyard pool – something only the wealthy enjoyed – people started...

  • NESPA Establishes Task Force to Honor Paulette Pitrak

    by AQUA Editors March 2017

    NESPA, with the help of APSP and NSPF, is establishing a task force to memorialize longtime Deputy Executive Director Paulette Pitrak — and needs your help.

    The task force, established by Steve Gorlin of Gorlin Pools and Spas (Lakehurst, N.J.) has a simple mission: To commemorate the many contributions Pitrak made over her 20-year career in the pool and spa industry.

    “We’re looking for ideas,” Gorlin says. “We’re looking for any type of an idea that would properly honor and...

  • Remembering Don Burns

    by William N. Rowley March 2017

    When Don Burns passed away in early March, the industry lost one its finest and most successful government advocates. It was wonderful reading all of the sentiments about Don; he was truly one of our very best. In the aftermath of his passing, there was, however, something missing. Not much at all was said about his specific legislative...

  • In Memoriam: Buck Hall of Lonza Water Treatment

    by AQUA Editors March 2017

    Buck Hall, who served for 13 years as senior director of sales for Lonza Water Treatment’s Pro Dealer business, passed away February 23 of cardiac arrest. He was 62.

    A 26-year pool industry veteran, Hall joined Arch Chemicals to lead the Pro Dealer sales team in 2004. (Lonza acquired Arch in 2011.) As the senior director of sales, Hall was responsible for developing and directing the implementation of the HTH Water Products sales and marketing strategy for the poolife brand in the...