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Former Portuguese diplomat dies, aged 91

Joaquim Alberto Barreto, a former Portuguese Vice-Consul and Acting Consul to Bermuda for nearly 20 years, has died at the age of 91.

A career diplomat born in the former Portuguese territory of Goa in India, Mr Barreto enjoyed a lengthy tenure in Bermuda from 1973 until his retirement, along with his wife Maria Celina, in 1992. Both worked for the Consulate.

Initially meant to be posted to Bermuda for three years, Mr Barreto loved the island “but people loved him more”, his daughter Berta “Bulu” Barreto-Hogan said.

Mr Barreto made a point of attending every event of note, in the Portuguese community or otherwise.

“He taught us that unless you were sick or had something else happening, you never turned down an invitation. It's an honour to be invited. He always rolled up his sleeves and worked alongside people at various functions, fairs, you name it. He was a people person, but very private at the same time, and his family was everything to him,” Mrs Barreto-Hogan said.

“He was very kind, a true gentleman who cared about people.”

The Barretos were living in Teddington in the UK at the time of his passing on January 17. Today would have marked the couple's 60th wedding anniversary.

Both were born in Goa, a Portuguese territory, which India took back in 1961 — prompting a mass evacuation. Mr Barreto helped process refugees from his posting at the embassy in Karachi.

Karachi also became the birthplace of the couple's four children: Carlos, Berta, Ligia and José.

Yesterday marked 44 years to the day that their life in Bermuda began with his arrival by British Overseas Airways, his daughter said.

As well as dedicating himself to the thriving Portuguese community, Mr Barreto was a familiar sight at functions around the island and enjoyed a wide circle of friends.

A Requiem Mass celebrating his life will be held on February 13, at Teddington's Sacred Heart Church.

Joaquim Alberto Barreto (1925-2017), former Portuguese Consul to Bermuda (Photograph supplied)

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Published February 02, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated February 02, 2017 at 1:01 am)

Former Portuguese diplomat dies, aged 91

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