OGDEN -- Bernie Diamond, a co-founder of the Management Training Corporation that runs Clearfield Job Corps, and who once estimated he brought 10,000 jobs to Weber County during his career in business and with the then-Ogden Chamber of Commerce, died Tuesday. He was 89.
Diamond also is known to fans of the former TV shows "Everwood" and "Touched by an Angel." After he retired from business, he took up acting, appearing in a wide range of TV shows, films and commercials.
Diamond's daughter, Judie, said Tuesday he was preparing for a role in an upcoming film about the New Testament being made by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
She said he came down with pneumonia several weeks ago and "just got weaker and weaker. I found him this morning."
Diamond was born May 22, 1922, in Salt Lake City, where his parents, Russian immigrants, ran the Diamond Produce Company.
His parents left Utah, leaving Diamond with his grandparents in Ogden. He spent his childhood selling newspapers, shining shoes and peddling fruits and vegetables door to door.
Despite those early entrepreneurial experiences, Diamond's career in business in Weber County was not his first choice.
He served in the European Theater with the Army's 101st Airborne Division during World War II. It was during that time he became involved with a government program to learn theater arts, and he considered a career in New York.
His wife, VerBena, however, wanted him to come back to Utah, so Diamond did. He found jobs with the Culligan Soft Water company and as a sugar broker.
He joined the Junior Chamber of Commerce and served on the Ogden Chamber of Commerce's board of directors until 1952. In that year, he was invited to apply for the position of secretary manager of the chamber, where it was his job to promote business development.
From 1952 to 1962, Diamond worked with local business leaders to set up the Weber County Industrial Bureau, which brought in several major employers.
In a memoir written in 2002 for his 80th birthday, Diamond said one great success was the IRS Service Center.
"The tax people came out to Ogden, and we wined and dined them," he said. "They said that was one of the few times where anyone was nice to the tax man, and they ended up locating in Ogden. They said they would probably never have more than 400 jobs processing taxes here, and it ended up being over 4,000 jobs."
The chamber lobbied hard to have the then-new interstate highway system come to Weber County instead of a proposed route that just went to Salt Lake City.
The chamber and Associated Civic Clubs of Northern Utah sent Diamond to Washington, D.C., to lobby.
"We were successful in being awarded the last 36 miles of the federal interstate system," from Echo to Ogden, he said.
In 1962, he helped attract the then-Thiokol Corporation to set up its headquarters in Ogden. As part of that deal, he met Thiokol executive Robert L. Marquart, who hired Diamond away from the chamber to work for Thiokol in marketing.
That job, in turn, allowed Diamond and Marquart to propose, and set up, an Education and Training Division of Thiokol. In 1966, the training division won a federal contract to operate what is now the Clearfield Job Corps Center.
In 1980, he, Marquart and others bought the whole operation from Thiokol and set it up as the Management Training Corporation, which grew to run 24 Job Corps centers around the nation in 2002, as well as running private prisons.
In between all that, Diamond also served a term on the Ogden City Council and was assistant mayor. He quit that in 1966 to go to Washington, D.C., to spend a year working with the Office of Economic Opportunities at the White House.
His wife, VerBena, died in 2000, and Diamond retired from MTC.
Rather than settle down, he decided to pursue the acting career he'd given up in the late 1940s.
"Two days after I retired, I went to Salt Lake and got an agent," he told the Standard-Examiner in 2007.
He did Utah musical theater, commercials, was a regular on the TV Show "Everwood," which was filmed in Ogden, and appeared in numerous episodes of "Touched by an Angel," which was filmed in Salt Lake City.
Judie Diamond said the family is still making arrangements for a funeral, but one thing is already settled.
"He left instructions for his funeral to include the music, 'I Did It My Way.' "