February 25, 2009

David and the Mission Beach Plunge

David Hargrove, center, with some of his staff from the Mission Beach Plunge out in front of the plunge, 1983 open house.

Himself: Still not feeling well.

Herself: Got permission to use quotes from the MS Wilhelm Gustloff.

Balance: Eating leftovers.

Caught my attention: The Wilhelm Gustloff site has been of invaluable help as I write a short piece on the MS Robert Ley and the MS Wilhelm Gustloff.

David Hargrove was a kind man, a good man, and he was really hard to work for because he could never make a decision. He managed the Mission Beach Plunge the years I worked there. I had talked with him last year while standing at the sea wall watching storm surf in Ocean Beach. One of my old friends from the Plunge wrote me a note to tell me he died surfing this month. A heart attack. He was too young

From the top: Mission
Beach Plunge Exterior, interior, 1983. Second: Working on the water and hanging the open sign. Next to last: Painting the barriers and benches. Bottom: Scrubbing the pool: two guards and Kelly and I.

PS: There will be a memorial service for him on Sat, 2/28/09, @ 11am, at the La Mesa Church of Christ.


  1. thanks for posting the photo of dave and of the plunge. i worked with david also at memorial park pool and, like you, was saddened to hear of his death.
    initially, he was my swim team coach in the early '70's if memory serves and i can still remember him making me do more laps. and when i worked for him as a lifeguard, i can remember him making me clean the "body fats"--the grime on the edge of pool.
    my brother sent me a text earlier tonight that there will be a memorial service for him on Sat, 2/28/09, @ 11am, at the La Mesa Church of Christ.

  2. I was a very young girl learning to swim at Memorial Park Pool in Southeast San Diego when I first met David Hargrove; he was one of my first swimming instructors. He was also a dear friend of my brother and family. I will always remember his gentle manner and his big smile.
    We will miss you Dave, my thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

  3. Thanks jazzjune. Unfortunatuly we will be out of town that day. Thanks for telling me tho.

    Yes, cleaning the body fats was one of my jobs at the plunge. You make me laugh. You should see the ring around the Y where I swim now.

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  5. When I remember David Hargrove, Robert Jones and Pedro also come to mind. The Three Amigos. Fond memories of learning how to swim (unsuccessful w/ the backstroke as most of you must chuckle or laugh hysterically at the memory). David and Robert were two more brothers that my mother embraced as well. I will miss David at the KIFM Jazz Festival this year. It was almost without fail that we would run into each other amongst so many people. In fact we’d be dancing side by side on the streets of the Gaslamp and we’d look up and smile at each other or he would tap me on the shoulder with his broad grin. He loved good music! I also think of David when I’m at the Plunge which is every w/end since I am now a member of that gym. This w/end I will attend his service. He will be missed.

  6. Thank you all for stopping by. The newspaper today ran his obituary, and it also says there will be a memorial at the beach.

  7. I was a young girl when I first met David. He was a good friend of my brother, Pedro. They were both lifeguards at Memorial Park Pool in Southeast San Diego. David taught me not to be afraid of the water. In fact he encouraged me to get on a swimming team. I was never the greatest swimmer but he instilled in me the self-confidence I needed. He had faith in everyone even me. I will always remember his smile and his great optimism. He will be missed.

  8. Some of my finest memories from my childhood involve the plunge. Every summer a bunch of us from my daycare would go to the plunge for a week for swim lessons. I remember checking in to get my mesh bag with the numbered pin on it and changing into my swim shorts. The plunge will never be the same as those things I remember were the upper level and the constant drone and echo that the old building had.


What a delight to get a note from you. Thanks for leaving one.


Peter in front of a wall sculpture. We were invited up to Peter Knego’s home to see the latest installation.   Abstract flat ...