Gabriel Rodriguez (1936-2020)
A Warwick Academy “teaching legend” who has died aged 83 took up the profession only after he missed out on a career in the British Secret Service, his family has revealed.
Gabriel Rodriguez was approached by the Secret Service after he started at Cardiff University in his native Wales, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree and a master’s degree in education.
His family said it was a “big disappointment” to him when, despite passing preliminary tests, a background check revealed he had a communist relative in Spain. The revelation ended his hopes of a career in the Secret Service.
A statement from his family thanked residents for their expressions of condolence and added: “He was a wonderful father — kind, supportive and infinitely patient.
Mr Rodriguez, who held the school’s long-service record, retired in 2002 after 41 years.
The school said Mr Rodriguez was “a huge influence to so many alumni and staff” in a social-media post.
Mr Rodriguez taught maths and physics and also served a stint as acting head teacher after the 1987 retirement of principal Joseph “Zacky” Marshall.
He began his teaching career at Barry Grammar School in Wales, where he worked for two years before a successful application for a post at Warwick Academy, which he joined in 1960.
He met a Scottish art teacher, Jean Rose, at the school — the couple married in 1961 and had two children, Caroline and Fiona. Mr Rodriguez was also one of the founders of Teachers Rugby Football Club and became captain and president.
He earned the nickname “The Hawk” as a player — an avian theme extended from his nickname “The Eagle” as a basketball player at Cardiff University. Mr Rodriguez acted in several Gilbert&Sullivan productions and he was a keen carpenter who crafted cedar furniture and rocking horses.
He was born in the Welsh village of Abercraf to Pablo and Bermuda Rodriguez, who were of Spanish origin, in 1936 and won a scholarship to attend a private grammar school.
• A celebration of his life will be held on Monday from 4pm to 6pm at 15 Middle Road, Paget, and condolences can be sent to funeral directors Bulley-Graham-Rawlins at www.bulley-graham.bm. Donations to the cancer charity Pals can be made in lieu of flowers
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