Peter Melendy Distinguished Community Builder Awards Made for 2015

October 27, 2016

Press Release – For immediate Release

October 27, 2016

Peter Melendy Distinguished Community Builder Award to Deserving Recipients

The Cedar Falls Community Foundation Board of Directors has voted to award this year’s Peter Melendy distinguished Community Builder Award to two deserving recipients.  This award is presented to individuals or couples who have made outstanding voluntary community contributions that have enhanced, improved, or positively affected the overall quality of life in Cedar Falls.

The award is named for Peter Melendy who became a resident of Cedar Falls in 1859 at the age of 36. By living fully and energetically he contributed much to the cultural life and economic development of Cedar Falls. The Peter Melendy Distinguished Community Builder Award is open to all Cedar Falls residents who reflect the example set by Peter Melendy.

Joan Diamond and Theresa Wangler Sartori (posthumously) will receive the 2016 Peter Melendy Distinguished Community Builder Award on Saturday, December 3rd at a 1:30 p.m. ceremony at Windridge, Western Home Communities.  Mary Jo Kavalier, MSN, RN,VP Site Administrator, Sartori Memorial Hospital, will accept the award on behalf of Theresa Sartori.  The event is free and open to the public.

Joan Diamond grew up in Galesburg, Illinois, and moved to Cedar Falls in 1957 to serve as librarian at Price Laboratory School.  She retired in 1990 after thirty-three years of service.

Since moving to Cedar Falls, Joan has invested herself in the community as an active volunteer and philanthropist.  The long list of local organizations that benefited from her assistance include the UNI Museum, Sartori Memorial Hospital, the Cedar Falls Historical Society, the James & Meryl Hearst Center for the Arts, the Cedar Falls Community Theatre, and the Cedar Falls Tourism and Visitors Bureau.  Joan’s good work could not be contained to the local level; and for over twenty-five years, Joan recorded audio books for the Iowa Department of the Blind.  She served on a number of local boards including Arts Alive; UNI-Civic Arts Association (which later became Friends of the Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center), Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony, Cedar Falls Historical Society, Cedar Falls Community Theatre, and most recently the Cedar Falls Community Foundation’s Board of Directors.  Joan and her late husband Saul Diamond received many honors, including from the Red Cross, the Iowa Governor’s Award, the Mayor’s Award, Representative Citizen Award, and Howard V. Jones Award for Leadership & Philanthropy in the Arts.

Theresa Wangler Sartori (posthumous award) was nominated for her decades of service, aid, and succor to the sick and needy in the community.  Theresa was born in Germany and moved to the United States in 1857 when her sweetheart, Joseph Sartori, sent for her.  They settled in Cedar Falls, where Theresa served for forty years as a member of the Ladies’ Aid Society of the German Evangelical Church, a member of the James Brownell Post No. 26 Women’s Relief Corps, as a member of the committee for Outside Relief and for visiting the Sick.  When she died at the age of 68, the community mourned “the most unselfish, the most charitable woman” they had known.  Her son Joseph Francis Sartori was inspired to build a hospital in her honor, and thus the Sartori family’s legacy of caregiving extends even to this day in the hospital that they helped to build and which is named in their honor.

The Cedar Falls Community Foundation is proud to honor these deserving individuals with the Peter Melendy Distinguished Community Builder Award.  The Cedar Falls Community Foundation serves as the leading philanthropic organization in Cedar Falls, Iowa, using the resources entrusted to its stewardship to support projects that enhance the community’s quality of life through cultural, scholarly, recreational, literary, and artistic endeavors.  The Cedar Falls Community Foundation encourages community philanthropy and collaboration.  For more information about the Cedar Falls Community Foundation, please visit  or contact 319.243.9170 or