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Senate pays tributes to former President

Former Senate President Alfred (Alf) Oughton was fondly recalled by family and members of the Upper House yesterday.

The 83-year-old died on Monday and a funeral date has been set for February 24.

Said daughter-in-law Nancy: “To me, most people have outlaws, but he was truly an in-law. As a person he was warm; a family man who was very encouraging to his grandchildren Stephen, Stacy and Jeffrey. The main point about him was that he cherished his family.”

Mr Oughton is also survived by his son, Stephen.

Mrs Oughton recalled her father-in-law as a passionate storyteller, frustrated by the impact of his health problems on his speech. The former Independent senator had a stroke shortly after the death of his wife Jean in 2009 and recently suffered a second.

Tributes to Mr Oughton were exchanged around the round table in the Senate yesterday. Appointed to the Upper House in 1993, he presided over the Senate for a decade until his 2008 retirement.

He was recalled as “smart, driven and very funny” by Government Senator Vince Ingham.

“My association with Alf Oughton comes from my years spent at Belco,” he said. “The decade Alf spent at the helm at Belco was a great period in the company’s history.

“Having joined Belco in 1956 as purchasing manager, Alf worked hard to advance his career, rising through the ranks to become head of the company, first as general manager in 1982 and until his retirement as chief executive officer in 1993. During Alf’s tenure, the Island was growing and prosperous, and so was Belco.”

Sen Ingham said of Mr Oughton: “The development of talent, particularly Bermudian talent, has long been the niche that he enjoyed. At Belco, Alf had a real impact on labour relations, employment strategy, and training and development, including the establishment of internal and external scholarships.”

Sen Ingham added: “Those of us who were fortunate to follow in Alf’s footsteps knew we had big shoes to fill.”

Independent Senator Joan Dillas-Wright

hailed Mr Oughton as “a giant of a man in this Country”.

She recalled serving with Mr Oughton when he chaired the 1996 Healthcare Review Report that bore his name, and led to the creation of the Bermuda Health Council.

Opposition Senate leader Michael Dunkley recalled Mr and Mrs Oughton, who married in 1949, as a couple very much in love.

“Beside a strong man is a strong woman,” he said.

Senate President Carol Ann Bassett recalled joining the Upper House in 2003.

“I was the only female among a bunch of often rambunctious men,” she said. “Sen Oughton was such an encouraging gentleman. He used to pass notes around that said ‘well done’.”

Mr Oughton’s daughter-in-law echoed the sentiment. “He was a very genuine person; that’s what I always heard about him from Belco staff from the linesmen up,” she said. “He genuinely liked people, and that’s how he approached his whole life.”

Belco President Andrew Parsons

called the former chief executive officer “a mentor and a friend to anybody that he met in the organisation”.

The company has set up a $25,000 scholarship in Mr Oughton’s name.

“It is for those individuals pursuing social studies,” Mr Parsons said. “It’s non-engineering, because Alf was not known as an engineer, but dedicated to ensuring that each individual reached their fullest potential. He will be missed.”

United Bermuda Party MP Kim Swan also paid tribute to Mr Oughton yesterday.

Mr Swan served nine years in the Senate during Mr Oughton’s tenure as President.

“During that period I got to know, appreciate and admire Alf Oughton the person,” Mr Swan said. “Of all the good attributes that stood out about Alf Oughton [the greatest] was his love and devotion for his late wife.”

Mr Swan described their union as “a love story of two teenage school friends during Second World War that he proudly shared, as his childhood sweetheart became his life partner”.

A resident of Lighthouse Hill, Southampton, Mr Oughton was also a member of the Freemasons, and served as a commodore at the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club.

Photo by Glenn Tucker Former Senate President Alf Oughton, who died on Monday. Mr Oughton, who also led Belco, is pictured on his retirement from the Senate in 2008.

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Published February 16, 2012 at 1:00 am (Updated February 16, 2012 at 8:09 am)

Senate pays tributes to former President

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