Seeing Friday’s obituary of New York philanthropist Joan Tisch brings to mind the many heavy hitters Bermuda has attracted over the years. One of them was Joan’s husband, Preston Robert “Bob” Tisch, who died in 2005.
In the New York City business world of the Eighties and Nineties, you couldn’t get any higher a profile. Donald Trump, who was preening about town then, doesn’t even come close, although he would have you think otherwise.
Not surprisingly, Bob coined the phrase “power breakfast”, which he frequently held at his Regency Hotel. At the other end of the culinary spectrum, he was a co-founder of Meals-on-Wheels, often delivering meals himself for more than 20 years.
One could go on and on about Bob’s business interests, many of which he co-owned or operated with his brother, Laurence — like the CBS network — and some which were carried on by Joan after his death, such as the New York Giants.
But it is the decades-long connection with Bermuda that is worth a mention — from Joan and Bob’s delayed honeymoon here in 1950 to the early 1980s when Bob included Bermuda in his Loews hotel and theatre empire. I knew Bob well during my time with the Bermuda News Bureau in New York and, I can tell you, he had a real fondness for the island and never missed a chance to promote us, even after he sold the 600-bed resort to Club Med in 1985.
In a way, Joan’s death the other day closed another chapter in a bygone era of legendary movers and shakers. Let’s not forget who they were and, to use a current catchphrase, what they did to make Bermuda great.
PAMELA H. WILLCOCKS