Diane Barbieri

Term: 2019 to 2021

Photo by Jeannette Michelson

Past President, Diane Barbieri, showed resilience, perseverance, and leadership during a difficult period in our club’s history.  Being president during a pandemic, when everything we came to know and love about our club was shut down, Diane was driven by a single purpose: to keep our club alive and keep our members still feeling united in our club’s purpose and goals.

Though born in Brooklyn, Diane spent most of her life in New Jersey, living for a while in White House Station and Flemington. She met her husband, Ed, as a teenager and remembers going to a friend’s Sweet Sixteen with him.  Diane attended Rutgers, majoring in Communications and English; while Ed went into the medical field at Cornell, later establishing himself as a chiropractor.

Between living in White House Station and Readington, New Jersey, Diane pursued a love of horses begun in childhood.  Soon Diane and her husband bought a horse farm called Mont Vue Farms which they owned for 10 years. With the love of all things equestrian, she oversaw the boarding of horses, riding lessons, and holding equestrian camps. Happily, Diane was able to fulfill a dream of being closely connected to this way of life. Of Ed and Diane’s three children, Blair, Edward, and Kimberly, Blair rode in college and joined the Virginia Tech equestrian team. Besides their three children, Diane and Ed are enjoying seven grandchildren.

Then, in the late 90’s, Diane took another turn, when she and her family began looking for a summer home here on LBI. Ed could fish and easily commute to his practice. They settled on a house in Surf City. In 2012 after Hurricane Sandy and renovating their existing house, Ed and Diane  made the decision to move here fulltime.

Diane’s experience in her former community and on the Board of Directors for the Clinton Art Museum propelled her into looking for organizations and causes she could connect with here on the island.  At a yacht club function, she met Bev Reitinger, another former president of our club. Bev shared news and information about The Garden Club with Diane. The rest is history!

Diane began her life in our club in the kitchen making sandwiches where she met some of her closest friends. Having worked on house tours in Hunterdon County, she found a special passion that the house tour provided her. She loved the collaboration while also enjoying being the coordinator of some of the most amazing houses. Since then, Diane has consistently taken on a house to decorate for the tour. Next step for Diane, was first Vice President which she held for 2 years until becoming President in 2019.

Diane bought her sense of “How can we do this better?” to her role as President.  In 2019, she put her energy into improving some aspects of our annual house tour. She upgraded the map pamphlet into a large, colorful booklet of the houses on the tour including photos and descriptions. Ads from island sponsors were also included for community involvement. In addition, a holiday design magazine of beautiful holiday decorations from past house tour homes, was put together and made available for sale.

Also, during Diane’s tenure, our Butterfly Garden and Pavilion in Barnegat Light took root and blossomed into the lovely garden it is today. In addition, her organizational skills prompted her to go through old files of our club’s history which provided the segue to the “Did You Know?” column in our newsletter.  Environmental causes have been near to our garden club and Diane has been a supporter of those ideals as well.

Diane shared that she had lived three lives: The first as a young girl growing up, finding her soulmate, and starting out in life.  The second as  that of a wife, mother, community activist, and lover of all things equestrian. And last, coming here to the island to pursue passions just for the love of it.

It is said that we are the sum total of everything we have experienced in life. Throughout her life, Diane has taken what life gave her and used those opportunities to improve things and make things better while challenging herself and our club to be the best it can be.