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‘Genuine and passionate’ conservationist

Charles Tatem, a conservationist, sailor and designer with a flair for kitchens, has died. He was 70.

An architect, Mr Tatem served as chairman of the Bermuda National Trust's historic buildings committee, and was also a member of the St George's Preservation Authority.

Henry Ming, a friend and a former president of the National Trust, said Mr Tatem was “genuine and compassionate — he took on other people's problems because he cared about everything that touched him”.

Mr Ming added: “He would literally give you the shirt off his back.”

He said: “He was extremely passionate about the preservation of our historical buildings and Bermuda's architectural heritage.”

Mr Tatem, who died on Sunday, was also a keen sailor and member of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.

He worked at many regattas and became one of Bermuda's top race officials.

He supervised or helped to watch over top races in Bermuda for more than 20 years.

Mr Tatem also contributed to the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs on the evolution of traditional Bermudian architecture.

Mr Tatem's had a design flair for kitchens, and he served as managing director at Design Associates on Serpentine Road in Pembroke, where he specialised in “Kitchens by Charles”.

Mr Ming said: “He shone at that. Charles loved to cook and knew exactly where to place appliances. He was totally organised and meticulous.

“No matter what he did, it was with purpose, and knowing all the information before he spoke.”

Mr Tatem was proud of his training at the Bermuda Technical Institute, and served on the Education Committee of the Institute of Bermuda Architects.

Neville Tyrell, a Progressive Labour Party backbencher, told MPs yesterday in the House that Mr Tatem had been “better known to us as Chilli”.

Mr Tyrell said: “He was one of the few people that didn't look like me and went to the tech around my time. He was very talented at technical drawing.”

Michael Dunkley of the One Bermuda Alliance said Mr Tatem was “a stalwart of the community and willing to get involved in our community”.

Christopher Famous, the PLP MP for Mr Tatem's constituency of Devonshire East, praised Mr Dunkley for his habit as an MP of calling on people “who will never vote for him”.

He added: “I decided to do the same and in doing so I met a lot of people I didn't normally get to meet. One was Charles Tatem.

“We both had a love for technical things, architecture, the technical institute and wanting to get people into technical trades.”

Mr Famous said: “It's very important for us as politicians to go to everybody's house. Even if we think they might not vote for us.”

Renée Ming, MP for St George's North, praised Mr Tatem's work to preserve the Olde Town.

Susan Jackson, the shadow health minister, said Mr Tatem was “one of Bermuda's first kitchen designers” and his involvement with the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs had emphasised the need for conservation.

She added: “He established a legacy through his conversations about Bermuda's architecture and how important it was to maintain our traditions.”

A celebration of Mr Tatem's life is planned for noon on December 10 at St John's Church, Pembroke.

Charles Tatem (Photograph supplied)

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Published December 01, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated December 01, 2018 at 12:17 am)

‘Genuine and passionate’ conservationist

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