Paulette Pitrak, deputy executive director for the Northeast Spa & Pool Association, passed away Nov. 18 after a courageous battle with leukemia. She was 64.

Paulette first entered the pool and spa industry in 1988 as director of education for the National Spa and Pool Institute. She joined NESPA in 1998 where she worked tirelessly across a wide range of the associations’ key programs and member benefits including the Professional Training Institute, the well-regarded educational program at the Atlantic City Pool & Spa Show and a host of government relations and professional licensing issues.

Highly educated, she earned a Doctor of Philosophy (ABD) from Michigan State University in 1979 with a focus on community resource development, urban planning and public administration. Paulette was well known throughout pool and spa industry and admired by many, her vibrant personality, commitment to advancing the industry and vast knowledge and experience earned her a reputation for turning raw ideas into tangible results.

In a statement, NESPA’s Executive Director Lawrence Coniglia said, “We will all miss her terribly but we know that she is in a wonderful place now, out of pain and I know looking down on all of us with a smile on her face.” In a separate comment he added, "She was a true professional and a great friend."

For our part at AQUA, we will miss her candor, sharp sense of humor and friendship.

Paulette is survived by her mother, two sisters and a nephew.