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Trailblazing bus driver and union activist dies

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Kathy Landy, former president of the bus operators division at the Bermuda Industrial Union (Photograph from online)
Kathy Landy, the former president of the bus operators division at the Bermuda Industrial Union (File photograph)

A champion for Bermuda’s bus drivers and women in the labour movement has died.

Kathy Landy was 66.

Ms Landy, who headed the Bermuda Industrial Union’s bus operators and allied workers division, was also remembered by BIU colleagues as a supporter of people who struggled with addiction.

Her funeral will be held at noon today at Christ Church in Devonshire.

Ms Landy, a former taxi driver, became a bus driver in the 1985.

The Transport Control Department recognised her safe and courteous driving with an award in 1999.

Chris Furbert said Ms Landy, who was one of the first woman bus drivers, joined the BIU about 1999 and threw herself into union work.

She rose to recording secretary of the Bus Operators and Allied Workers Division of the BIU.

She also served on the International Transport Workers Federation, a global union body.

She was selected as the ITF’s women’s representative for road transport workers at its world congress in Canada in 2002.

Collin Simmons, the BIU education officer, said: “She later rose to vice president of the division – she was very active in the administration side.

“Her role afforded her the opportunity to go to many meetings held in different parts of the world to discuss workers’ conditions. She had some eye-opening experiences.”

Ms Landy became president of the division in 2017, when Glen Simmons stepped down.

Ronnie Burgess, now the recording secretary of the division, she said was “jovial” and referred to herself as Late Landy because she “never made time” – but was a stickler for division members attending meetings.

Ms Burgess added: “Kathy was the one who decided we needed to have a women’s committee and hold the International Women’s Day March.”

The global celebration of women’s achievements is held on March 8 every year.

Ms Landy was also a director of the BIU Credit Union.

Arnold Smith, a union organiser, said: “Sister Kathy was very loving. She and myself went in 2006 to the University of the West Indies campus for a four-day study trip.

“She was funny as hell, joyous and full of life, giving her name as ’Landy like Candy’.”

He added that Ms Landy was proud of her decades of sobriety and used her experience to help others in their battles.

Ms Landy was a keen Bingo player and followed the nightly games at clubs around the island.

Ms Burgess said Ms Landy travelled to Las Vegas for a bingo tournament every year and vowed she would “be there even if I have to live on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches”.

Ms Landy had a brush with death in 2011 when she choked on a mint on her bus.

But quick-thinking teenager Jaqueena Harvey, a passenger, saved her from choking.

Ms Landy said “God told her to bring me back” when Ms Harvey was honoured at the Bermuda Bravery Awards that year.

Katherine Alice Landy, a former president of the BIU bus operators division, was born on October 23, 1954. She died in January 2021. Ms Landy was 66.

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Published February 06, 2021 at 8:44 am (Updated February 06, 2021 at 8:44 am)

Trailblazing bus driver and union activist dies

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