New Link: Bermuda Biographies

This morning, while blog hopping, I found a blog by Chris Gibbons called Breezeblog, and read a nice post he wrote on Meredith Ebbin, the Bermudian journalist who recently retired from the Bermuda Sun.

Something else that caught my eye over there was a link to a site in progress called Bermuda Biographies. I was glad to have stumbled onto it because reading the profiles of some of the Bermudians was both engaging and enlightening. Sometimes, it is easy to lose sight of how much others have done to make Bermuda the great place it is today, so I was happy for the read. (Yeah, yeah! I know! We have lots to fix, but you’ve got to admit, we have it pretty good in Bermuda.)

Anyway, while on the site I noticed that among the photos near the header is a picture of Madeline Joell (at least, I think it is). She died in 1999 of an aneurysm and she was about the age I am now when she died, if memory serves me correctly. I never knew her personally, but I do remember when I heard she had died. It was such a shocker and, now that I think of it, it is even hard to believe that it’s been almost 10 years since she passed away. Some of her family, the Grants, were my neighbours when I grew up in Dockyard and I’ve been sad to hear of the passing of 2 or 3 of them (e.g. Kirk and “Red” Grant) since I’ve been in the UK.  

My first memory of Madeline is of her arriving for a meeting at the office of an insurance company where I worked as a file clerk before I went away to school. I was about 17 at the time and all I remember was this woman confidently walking in the office, impeccably dressed and marvelously fit, with two men carrying file boxes behind her. Seeing a black woman command such respect as I witnessed that day was very inspiring to me, particularly in that setting.

The only direct encounter I can ever remember having with her, though, was a few grey hairs and several pounds ago when my conscience used to occasionally lead me to The Athletic Club. (Trust me, it really was a LONG time ago, as anyone who knows me personally can attest!) She didn’t know me, but was very friendly and quite encouraging as I went to town on the rowing machine. One couldn’t help but notice how remarkably fit she was as she almost effortlessly zoomed through her chin-ups and sit-ups! Amazing!

I do wonder what further contributions she might have made to Bermuda had she lived longer. She had only just begun in politics the year before she passed. I imagine her influence would have been positive and her contributions great. Hopefully, her memory will inspire the same.

I’m adding the Bermuda Biographies link to my list on this blog. Have a look at it. I’m sure it will become a valuable and well utilised site.


~ by Carol-Ann Simmons on August 27, 2008.

3 Responses to “New Link: Bermuda Biographies”

  1. Hi Carol,

    I too had similar sentiments of Madeline. I first met her in 1993 when I joined Marsh, I can’t remember if she was still at J&H or had moved to ACE. I just knew that I respected her immediately. She did nothing but encourage me and told me many times how she had heard how I was doing a great job at Marsh. Not once did she not have a nice thing to say and not once did I do recall her ignoring anyone in her presence.

    I was absolutely shocked on the day she died because things like that are just not expected.

    It is amazing that you wrote this because I was back in Bermuda over Cup Match and for some reason she ran across my mind.

    She truly was a very, very nice and genuine person.

  2. Hello Guilden,

    Thanks for sharing your special memory of Madeline. It speaks to her character. What a coindence that you had thought of her during the recent Bermuda holiday, as well.



  3. It’s great that Madeline is remembered with great fondness. She lived a short but incredible life and certainly would have been a great contribution to Bermuda today.

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