Harry Powell (1941-2022): ex-safety inspector and founding member of Renegades RFC
A former health and safety official who monitored construction sites was also a keen sportsman and helped found one of Bermuda’s best known rugby clubs.
Harry Powell helped kick off Renegades Rugby Football Club in 1958, according to his friend John Ryall.
The two also served together in the Bermuda Rifles – one of the predecessor units of the Royal Bermuda Regiment.
Mr Powell and his wife, Marlie, ran Kingston House, a popular Pembroke bed and breakfast, in his later years.
David Frith, a former St George’s town crier, said Mr Powell was an early member of the Bermuda Cadet Corps Pipes and Drums and was a drum major.
Mr Frith said he also sailed fitted dinghies and served as skipper aboard the vessel Contest.
Mr Powell sailed competitively internationally as well as on the island, in events including International Race Week, the National Sailing Championships and the Bacardi National Keelboat Championships.
His friend Willy Acton, another founder of Renegades, called him “a classic Bermudian character”.
He added: “He was a great guy with a rustic sense of humour and a very dry humour.”
Mr Powell was also a prominent member of the Freemasons in Bermuda.
Mr Powell told The Royal Gazette in a 1997 interview that his interest in health and safety was sparked when he worked as a fitter for the Otis Elevator Company.
He explained the company was a stickler for safety on the job.
Mr Powell later ran a landscaping and excavation company, followed by a diesel engine supply and repair business.
He was the Bermuda representative for Yanmar diesel engines.
He sold his company in 1985 and moved with his family to Ontario, Canada.
Mr Powell worked in the engine division of a Caterpillar construction machinery dealership before he became a construction health and safety officer with the Ontario Ministry of Labour.
His work in Toronto ranged from residential renovations with only a handful of workers to the construction of high-rise buildings with a payroll of hundreds of employees.
He returned to Bermuda after he was hired by what was at the time the Ministry of Labour, Home Affairs and Public Safety in 1996.
Mr Powell told the Gazette in an interview after his return: “I am not a beast – I have to be firm but I would like the workforce to understand I am their friend and a resource.
“At the same time, I will not tolerate non-compliance.”
Mr Powell was a skilled handyman. He and his wife converted Kingston House, the family homestead built by Harry’s grandfather in 1921, to a B&B in 1999.
He is survived by children Jocelyn, Stephanie, Christopher and Wendy.
· Harry Downey Powell, a former safety inspector, was born on March 1, 1941. He died in January 2022, aged 80.