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Rodman Woolridge (1949-2024): exemplar of Bermuda tourism

Rodman Woolridge (File photograph)

A tourism veteran who brought a wealth of experience as a radio show host to boost hospitality in Bermuda was recalled as “the classic Mr Tourism”.

Rodman Woolridge hailed from the days of the Marriott Castle Harbour Hotel in Hamilton Parish, where he worked in management as well as director of travel industry sales.

A flair for hospitality ran in the family: Mr Woolridge was nephew to the late tourism minister C.V. “Jim” Woolridge.

He was also closely involved with the Freemasons in Bermuda.

Dennis Tucker, a former chief executive of both the Bermuda Hotel Association and the Hotel Employers of Bermuda, said: “I remember him as an absolute tourism ambassador, certainly for the Marriott but for Bermuda as well. He was a true Bermudian gentleman in every sense.

“I also remember all the briefing trips we did. He worked tirelessly for our tourism industry. I consider him to be a real tribute to Bermuda tourism.”

Ewart Brown, the former premier, worked with Mr Woolridge on a broadcast campaign to bring Bermudians back into what had become a flagging industry.

Dr Brown said Mr Woolridge was a childhood friend - their parents were also close.

“Over the years, Rodman dedicated his career to tourism and earned the title of ambassador among industry partners,” he added.

“We worked closely despite our different party affiliations. In fact, when I was tourism minister, Rodman hosted a radio programme that focused on tourism. Wanda and I have sent our condolences to the family.”

John Barritt, a former United Bermuda Party and One Bermuda Alliance MP, attended Albert College in Canada with Mr Woolridge.

The two pioneered a football team at the school, during a time when Canadians were typically more familiar with sports such as ice hockey.

Mr Barritt said: “Like so many Bermudians who went away to school back then, we became fast friends and had a great time together.

“What’s most memorable about Rodman is he was always, always a snappy dresser. Immaculate and impeccable are two words that come to mind.

“Impeccable manners, irrepressible personality — an irresistible combination well-suited to hospitality and for lifelong friendship.

“It was not a surprise when he went into the hotel business and made a name for himself. He was very much a people person.”

Maureen Eddy, another Albert College graduate, said: “Rodman was very outgoing and friendly. If he was going out somewhere he would be pressed, in that old Bermuda style.

“When we were at school together he was very academic as well. He went on to do hotel training in Europe.”

David Dodwell, hotelier at The Reefs and a former tourism minister, called Mr Woolridge “a super guy, the classic Mr Tourism”.

“Tourism sales and marketing was in his blood,” Mr Dodwell said. “He never met a stranger. Maybe he inherited it from his Uncle Jim. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

“He also took care of his Uncle Jim for many years. I’ll always remember him for that.

“He had that old-fashioned way of sales. He epitomised that form of tourism. He worked for Marriott, but he was Bermuda first.”

• Rodman Andicott Pearman Woolridge, a director at the old Castle Harbour Hotel, was born on June 30, 1949. He died in January 2024, aged 74

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Published February 01, 2024 at 7:58 am (Updated February 01, 2024 at 11:22 am)

Rodman Woolridge (1949-2024): exemplar of Bermuda tourism

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