TAUNTON — Diana Shearstone is, and has been, strictly business in Taunton for more than 30 years.
Diana Shearstone is, and has been, strictly business in Taunton for more than 30 years.
But last night was her special night to bask in the glory of her achievement.
Close to 200 business people and politicians settled into the central conference room of the Holiday Inn Thursday night to say job well done to the Taunton native who, for the past 18 years, has been the guiding light of the city’s main business guild: the Taunton Area Chamber of Commerce (TACC).
Shearstone, formerly known as Diana Pirozzi, was feted for her dedication to a lifetime of commitment to furthering the cause of local, small business owners, in addition to supporting school programs and other non-profit endeavors.
She worked for the TACC a total of 37 years — starting in 1960 when she was 19 — during which time she took a 10-year sabbatical to raise her family.
Her son Peter Shearstone, who came in from Pennsylvania with his wife and children, complimented her for becoming one of the first female Rotarians in the city’s history.
No wonder Shearstone lists the now annual Women’s Golf Outing and Women’s Celebration dinner as two of her more notable accomplishments.
Donald Cleary, city councilor and former school superintendent, recalled a collaborative business education partnership created in 1987 that made possible a mentor program of which 80 to 100 middle students have partaken of every year since.
Raynham native, and now Taunton resident, Rick Mastria, president of Mastria Auto Group in Raynham, said he’s known Shearstone for more than 20 years. In that time, he said, he’s come to recognize her “extraordinary motivation” and innately upbeat nature.
“She really raised it another level after Charlie Volkmann died,” Mastria said, referring to Shearstone’s predecessor and mentor.
As for Shearstone, 65, who now lives in Rochester with her husband Donald, she was wistful but not overly sentimental.
“I’ll miss the camaraderie of the chambers all over New England and my members,” Shearstone said.
“I consider them my friends,” she said of the latter.
Looking around the room she said, “I am overwhelmed.”
Some of the official accolades Shearstone received Thursday night were citations on behalf of Mayor Charles Crowley and the city of Taunton; the Paul Harris Fellow Award from the city’s Rotary Club; a governmental resolution dedicated by state representatives James Fagan, Patricia Haddad, Stephen Canessa and state senator Marc Pacheco; and a resolution from the Mass. House of Representatives approved by Speaker Sal DiMassi.
“I’ve known her all my life,” said James Fagan. “I think people will remember her for her enthusiasm and her upbeat and positive attitude and what she did for the city of Taunton.”
Susanne Morreale Leeber, president and CEO of the Marlborough Regional Chamber of Commerce, presented a citation from the New England Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives
She called her fellow chamber leader “a class act.”
Shearstone’s husband, Donald, who is still officially semi-employed, said he and his wife don’t have any particular plans — despite the fact they were presented a vacation package on behalf of the TACC.
“She’s done very well for herself,” he said. “She’s really going to miss it.”