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Tributes to Talbot Jr

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There is barely a corner of the island that Henry Talbot Jr and his family have not had a hand in creating.

A “self-made man”, he helped to construct numerous landmark buildings across Bermuda and was a pioneer in the waste-management sector as well as a visionary in the field of recycling.

The father of six passed away last Wednesday at the age of 84, prompting loved ones to pay tribute to the devoted family man and consummate entertainer. His wife Eunice described her husband as a “dynamic personality” who was ahead of his time.

“He made everyone feel at ease in his company,” she said. “He was very much a self-made man and also a visionary in many ways.

“He was a recycler before there was even the word. His favourite comment was always, ‘we can use it again’.”

Mr Talbot Jr was brought up in Pembroke with his four sisters and attended Central School.

At the age of 11 he went away to boarding school at Palmer Memorial Institute in North Carolina and later went on to study at Hampton University.

He returned to Bermuda after his studies and worked alongside his father, Henry Talbot Sr, for Henry Talbot and Son, during which time they built the Technical Institute and the houses around the baselands in St David’s.

Mr Talbot Jr took over the firm after his father died and continued to work in the construction and excavation business.

His son, Henry Talbot III, worked with Mr Talbot Jr for more than 30 years on major projects across the island, including the Tynes Bay excavation and the construction of the Butterfield and Vallis building.

“I have a lot of good memories working with my father,” he told The Royal Gazette. “He worked hard all his life and often put in seven-day working weeks.

“We had a real good working relationship, but we also spent a lot of time together out on the boat and swimming.

“His 12 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren were very important to him.”

In 1978 he met his wife at the French Connection nightclub in Hamilton while she was on holiday in Bermuda. The couple remained in contact after that first meeting and married nine years later in the United States.

In 1986 Mr Talbot Jr formed Talbot Enterprises and was soon tasked with the clean-up of the North Shore after Hurricane Emily.

“There was all sorts of debris and cedar washed up but Junior did not throw any of it away,” Mrs Talbot said.

“He made sure he used every last piece of cedar in the projects he embarked on later in life, like his beach house. That was just the kind of man he was. He never wasted anything.”

Between 1987 and 2001, Talbot Enterprises managed the Pembroke Dump and between 2000 and 2005 the firm operated the airport dump.

In 1993 Mr Talbot Jr took on the government recycling contract, which he kept for nearly two decades.

Mrs Talbot added: “He had so many friends around the world and he would entertain stars and politicians.

“He loved to travel but Bermuda was his favourite place.

“He would always say that Bermuda was God’s gift to the world.”

Much loved: Henry Talbot Jr, who was devoted to his family and wife Eunice, pictured with him above right, helped to construct numerous landmark buildings and was a pioneer in the waste-management sector