Lad Handelman, Commercial Diving Pioneer, Dies

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Lad Handelman, Commercial Diving Pioneer, Dies

October 29, 2020 - 10:45
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Leslie Leaney, co-founder of the Historical Diving Society (USA), has confirmed that Lad Handelman has died.

Lad Handelman

It is with the greatest sadness that I report the passing of our friend and HDS USA Advisory Board member, Lad Handelman, who passed away on Monday October 26, 2020", stated Leslie Leaney.

"As a pioneering abalone diver, Lad later co founded Cal Dive, and Oceaneering, earning him a unique and prominent place in the world's diving history.

Lad was instrumental in the launch of the HDS USA 28 years ago this month, and was a constant supporter of our work. Lad hosted many of the early Board meetings at his home plus HDS receptions for visiting international divers. These included Hans and Lotte Hass (Austria), Surgeon Vice Admiral Sir John Rawlins (UK), Professor Ichiro Nashimoto (Japan), Lucien Cabrolie (France), Giancarlo Bartolli (Italy), in addition to many senior American divers. Anyone visiting "The Lad Pad," had an unforgettable diving history experience.

HDS USA published an article on Lad's career in issue 80 of The Journal of Diving History, and there are numerous references to his pioneering career in The History of Oilfield Diving. Both of these were authored by his friend Chris Swann.

Lad was a unique man and had a unique career. I know many of us are thankful that we got to spend part of our time with him on this blue planet", said Leslie Leaney.


  • 1990 Commercial Diving Hall of Fame
  • 1999 Offshore Energy Centre Pioneers Hall of Fame
  • 2014 NOGI Award for Distinguished Service
  • Historical Diver Magazine Pioneer Award
  • Association of Diving Contractors International Hall of Fame
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