Pool season in Towson has begun, but this summer, the Wiltondale pool finds itself without the man who has become as synonymous with the club as lounge chairs and lifeguard stands.
Chad Roeder, who began as the Wiltondale pool manager in 1970, retired from his post last fall after 42 years of service to the pool and community. This past week, he was the guest of honors as he was honored at the pool's first adult night of the season, June 6.
"It's been a privilege to work with him," Wiltondale Pool Committee Chairman Eric Hutter said.
"Chad's a tremendous guy who has obviously invested a lot of heart and soul into the pool, and took a lot of pride in the pool," Hutter said. "It was basically a reflection of him."
According to Hutter, the first adult night of the year typically draws around 150 people — but 250 turned out to honor Roeder.
Roeder, 67 of Perry Hall, was 25 when his wife, Susan — a swim instructor — helped her man get a summer job at her place of employment.
Since then, the pool has been something of a family affair. Susan taught swimming lessons on and off for 35 years, and Roeder's two children, James and Kelly, both served as lifeguards and then assistant managers during the 1990s.
Throughout his tenure, Roeder held the pool and its employees to high standards, and made sure the pool catered to the needs of its families.
"They obviously wanted safety," Roeder said. "The crime is not too far away down in north Baltimore and elsewhere, and people felt very comfortable sending their children here. That's nice to know, that they knew when the children were here, they would be safe."
"Our safety record is outstanding," Hutter said.
While they understood Roeder's decision to move on, his departure prompted a big decision for the pool committee.
"If you look at some of the other local pools, they're run by a pool management company," Hutter said. "If we weren't able to find somebody to fill his role, we'd have to go to a pool management company, and that would change the flavor of the pool a bit, make it a little more commercial."
Instead, they turned to Jeff Glorioso, a Wiltondale resident who served as assistant pool manager under Roeder for four years.
Roeder helped with opening the pool this year, but said he doesn't miss the long hours that came with the job.
Now that he's finally fully retired, he said he's "very busy" with a two-year-old honey-do list from his wife. He also maintains properties for his son and daughter. If he sat still, he said, he would get old too quickly.
But this summer won't be without a dose of the familiar. Glorioso is going on vacation in August, and Roeder will be reprising his role for one week only this summer.
Hutter says he's always welcome back.
"We're sorry to see him go," he said, "but we're hoping that he hangs around and isn't a stranger."