Leigh Marymor: Pipes and Pictographs
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
EMERYVILLE — As renowned as Leigh Marymor has become after 30 years in the Bay Area plumbing industry, he’s garnered an even more prominent reputation in the field of archeology. “I have an avocational passion for rock art research, which means I study prehistoric cave paintings and Indian rock art such as petroglyphs and pictographs,” he explains. “I’ve been doing this type of research for almost 40 years, and I’m also an activist for the conservation of local and international endangered historical sites. Additionally, I maintain a research database for the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley, which gives students and researchers access to the literature of rock art studies.”
While his involvement in the archeological field was inspired by pure fascination, Leigh’s plumbing career originated from more practical motives. “I was actually a starving art student at the time, attending a textile art school in Berkeley,” he remembers. “I got introduced to plumbing when my roommate offered to take me to work with him a couple days a week. I think he was just tired of me stealing his groceries!” After he graduated college, Leigh found himself at a vocational crossroads. “By the time I finished school, I was married and wanted to start a family. I realized that my art degree wasn’t going to pay the bills, so I decided to stick with plumbing.”
Leigh founded his own plumbing business in 1981, which he operated out of Oakland for nearly two decades before partnering with Jim Lunt to establish The Lunt Marymor Company in 1999. “We were friendly competitors for years, and through a series of conversations, we eventually decided to join forces.” Today, Leigh says the partnership has culminated in a company that offers the utmost in quality and service. “Both of us put a high value on customer service, craftsmanship and artistry, and over the years we’ve been able to combine these attributes into an affordable package.”
Originally from Philadelphia, Leigh lived in various locations throughout the United States before eventually settling in the East Bay Area. Several years later, he continues to enjoy life in his adopted setting, where he lives with wife, Amy. “I fell in love with the Bay Area the moment I came here to attend college, and I still love being here today. As someone who travels a fair amount, it’s always a great place to come home to.”
Juggling both a professional career and avid avocational interests—he jokes about doing plumbing in his spare time—Leigh says he’s no different from others in the Bay Area who wear a number of hats. “A lot of my generation is made up of what you’d call ‘Renaissance people.’ The skills we learned in college prepared us for our careers, but we also came to develop personal interests outside of that realm. Rather than choosing one over the other, we decided to combine it all and live full, versatile lives.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, Leigh’s answer comes as no surprise. “I’d probably head to a cave somewhere,” he laughs. “If I could somehow get an invitation, I’d love to visit the Chauvet Cave in Southwestern France. They’ve found 32,000-year-old cave paintings there that are as beautiful and sophisticated as anything found in later periods, so that’s something I’d love to see.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: If you could time travel, would you go to the past or the future?
A: I would go to the past so I could meet some of the people whose art I’ve been looking at for all these years.
Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Saul’s Restaurant & Deli in Berkeley.
Q: What’s your favorite holiday?
A: My wife’s birthday.
Q: Fiction or nonfiction books?
A: Fiction. I particularly enjoy Latin American surrealistic authors like Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Jose Saramago.
Q: Who makes you laugh?
A: Robin Williams, as well as some of the old classics like Red Skelton and Jackie Gleason.