Joana Daved Diamos, Class of 1946
Jennie (to family friends). . . Jo Ann (to classmates and professional colleagues). . . Joana (the name on her birth certificate in her father’s handwriting, which she now prefers). . By whatever name, Joana Diamos is a warm, caring person with wide concerns and the efficiency and directness to accomplish her goals.
The four children of Elpinike and Daved George Diamos were reared in Douglas. Twin brothers graduated from high school there before the move to Tucson upon the father’s semi-retirement from the theater business. Sister Connie, a ’43 senior at THS, claims Doulas High as alma mater, but Joana attended Mansfeld for ninth grade and then THS for three years, so she definitely belongs to us, ’46. Further education was a B.A. at Stanford in 1950 and an LL.B. at UA College of Law in 1953. “I always knew that law was what I wanted to do.”
She retired from a 30-year legal career in 1983. This included 10 ½ years in private practice as well as her years as a government attorney. The first woman in Arizona to be appointed to the Federal Public Defender’s Office, she served for 11 ½ years and opened the Tucson branch. In 1964-1965 she was appointed United States Attorney for the District (state) of Arizona—(only the second woman to serve in the district; the third woman was appointed over 25 years later). **From 1953 to 1981 she was sole trial counsel in all but 11 of her 350 jury cases tried, almost exclusively before the United after her retirement, on learning that the prisoner was up for parole and that her States District Courts. One successful federal prosecution she particularly recalls was the case of a murder/sexual molestation of a six year-old girl in the late 60’s. Some 20 years later, after her retirement, on learning that the prisoner was up for parole and that her original parole report was missing from the files, she rewrote it, adding strength to the recommendation against the latter parole. This is but one example of her thoroughness.
Other highlights in the legal field . . . first woman in Arizona to be appointed by the Governor as Commissioner on Uniform State Laws. . . signed and filed the complaint in US District Court for divestiture of the Arizona Daily Star from the owners of the Tucson Citizen (the US Supreme Court affirmed the Decree of Divestiture). . . began the successful movement to desegregate Kappa Beta Pi legal sorority. . . conducted the Federal Grand Jury and successful prosecution of the Joe Bonano crime family.
Working on or chairing various committees and commissions, she has made many civic contributions . . . preservation/restoration of historic or architecturally significant sites (as Chairman of the Tucson-Pima County Historical Commission she is credited with restoration of the El Con water tower and with halting the proposed destruction of Catalina High School; participated in reopening of the Temple of Music and Art) . . . advocacy for mental health care (Southern Arizona Mental Health Center, 6th St and Campbell, a demonstration project; La Frontera Clinic). . . downtown development (instrumental in founding of the Downtown Advisory Committee, Industrial Development Authority, and the Downtown Development Corporation; one result is the tax-free bond funding for the Santa Cruz River Walk and Park). She organized and incorporated the Drugs Problem Coalition.
She has long been active in the Democratic Party – from 1954 with the Young Democrats of Greater Tucson up to 1988-92 as a member of the Rules Committee of the Democratic National Committee. She has offered her devotion and legal and organizational skills to the St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church since its founding in 1951 and was recognized by the Greek community as Daughters of Penelope National Woman of the Year in 1962.
She is just now winding up reunion affairs as treasurer of THS class of ’46. One current ongoing project is achieving completion of walls around El Encanto to cut down on increased traffic noise, and another is working through the State Supreme Court and the State Bar for a third classification, retired, in the official listing of Arizona attorneys. Though she is no longer in active legal practice, it is obvious that the word inactive is in no way appropriate in describing Joana Diamos. She will always find some way to serve others and her community.