Happy to be of service:
Former Head Doorman/Bell Captain and Supervisor of All Ground Transportation Raymond Ming has retired after 45 years in the hospitality industry. He will continue to work part-time as an ambassador for the island. His tours — Ray’s Rambles — run out of Rosewood Tucker’s Point every Saturday morning at 10am. *Photo by Nicola Muirhead

He is one of the most respected men in the hospitality industry and has received the Queen’s Certificate & Badge of Honour for his work.

But Rosewood Tucker’s Point’s retiring Head Doorman/Bell Captain and Supervisor of All Ground Transportation has a full plume of feathers to his hat. His fascinating life has seen him climb from humble beginnings to great heights. He managed one of the island’s most successful bands, Ted Ming and The Bermuda Strollers, who came up behind The Talbot Brothers.

Known as the official College Weeks band, they brought thousands of students to the island and even performed for John F Kennedy’s family on their private compound. He managed his own store, worked as a traffic officer, tour guide and taxi driver, and even ran for  Parliament. He has run over 50 Marathons and was involved in several other sports.

While he is proud of his achievements, Mr Ming isn’t one to let things go to his head; he is a man who cherishes people wherever they come from and his true passion is charity.

He spoke exclusively to the
Bermuda Sun about his incredible story.

This is Part 2 of the two-part series. Part 1: 
Exclusive: Local legend bows out

Family man: Raymond Ming with his family — daughter Deandra Brangman, wife Sandra Brangman and son Deon Brangman. *Photo supplied

It’s a story so odd that many believe it must be an urban myth. Not Raymond Ming, though — he was there when it happened. 

It’s the story of how a cow ended up in a hotel room — after taking the elevator! 

It happened during the College Weeks and after a good chuckle, Mr Ming recalled: “I had some friends staying at Elbow Beach Hotel and they invited me up to the room to have some drinks. There was a bunch of people having a good time and suddenly we heard this, ‘Mooooo’, like a cow. 

Everybody wondered what it was — someone called down to the lady on the front desk and said: ‘It might sound like I’ve lost my mind or something but I think there is a cow on the top floor’. 

“These college students actually got a cow and took him up in the elevator and took him into a room. They did some crazy things — we never laughed so much!”

The heady days of College Weeks now seem like a distant echo. But modern Bermuda’s culture was in full swing during those years and the visiting students certainly injected plenty of their own culture into island life — to say they loved to party might be an understatement.

Mr Ming and his grandson, ‘my little joy’ Tahj Bean hold the Queen’s Certificate that was presented to him in 2013 along with a Badge of Honour.  *Photo supplied

Local entertainment was a big draw for the students who came here during tourism’s heyday but Mr Ming also tips his hat to the many ambassadors — official and unofficial — who give Bermuda its friendly, helpful spirit. He specifically mentions the taxi drivers and horse & buggy riders who would ferry visitors around the island opening their eyes to its many wonders. Mr Ming continues as a taxi driver and tour guide, despite his retirement. Every Saturday morning he will take guests on ‘Ray’s Rambles’ — filling them in with cultural and historical facts down to the last detail. 

There are many people who have contributed to this vast knowledge of his.

Mr Ming is so grateful for those who have influenced and inspired his life. Even after the many hours he spent talking to me, he continued to call every day as he remembered another person he wished to acknowledge for the part they played — after all, “it’s not about Ray” — it is about all the wonderful people he has known. 

Mr Ming ran his own convenience store for years. *Photo supplied


He thanks his wife of 18 years, Sandra, who invited him to church and was his mentor. “She’s been a key encourager and played a key role in just about everything I did,” he said. He acknowledges his elder siblings who, when he was a boy, sacrificed much of their schooling to take care of him. Then Sir John W Swan, Bermuda’s former Premier of 13 years, would stop by Archie Brown’s and encourage him. “I was complaining about having a low-end job as a messenger boy and Sir John said, just like my mother, ‘well give the job up’. I said ‘What am I going to do?’ and he replied: ‘Instead of complaining go and find a career”. He said: ‘Don’t settle where you are’.” 

He mentions PLP MP Austin Thomas and his wife Eula, the lady who had asked him why he thought he would get his first job as messenger boy at Archie Brown and Son when he was waiting for an interview in 23rd place. Always quick with an answer, the sharp 12-year-old replied, “Because 23 is my number — I was born on the 23rd day and my favourite Psalm is the 23rd Psalm”.

He mentions Mrs Oliveria who worked in the Archie Brown office; Haskins Davis, a loan officer in the Bank of Butterfield who took him under his wing and talked politics. Labour man Mr Allen from Ord Road; Quinton Edness, a prominent UBP politician; Jim Woolridge, ex-Tourism Minister and cricket’s ‘Voice of Summer’; Mr Telford Snr At the Southampton Princess; PLP politicians Dale Butler and Ottiwell Simmons; the Tripp family (Tucker’s Point) Keith Davis and many, many more. 

An honour and a family occasion: Raymond Ming, pictured far right, accepts his Queen’s Certificate and Badge of Honour, alongside his wife, Sandra, from the Governor of Bermuda George Fergusson at Government House. *Photo supplied 

He singled out former PLP Finance Minister and director at Belco Eugene Cox, whose brain the young Mr Ming would regularly pick. 

“They were all watching out for me,” he told me. “All these people played a role in my career — it’s like I couldn’t go anywhere, they would always check on me. I got a lot of inspiration from both sides of the scene, I wasn’t political so it didn’t matter to me.”

But of all the people in the world, perhaps the most influential to him was his elder sister, Barbara. Mr Ming was just 12-years-old when his father Wesley passed away and it devastated him. Barbara took the reigns and guided her little brother through life. 

Losing her through cancer in 1985 was one of the major tragedies in Mr Ming’s life.

“I went through a real bad time when she died — I had to go overseas. Everyone thought I was on vacation but I went through a nervous breakdown. 

“I had good people looking out for me. I thought I could take it.”

Just eight days before Barbara died, she had a very important message for her little brother who was sitting at her bedside. “On December 2, 1985, she called me close to the bed she said, ‘I want you to do something for me, and she said with a very low voice: ‘I want you to stay in the hospitality industry — it’s your forté. You care about people you have a compassion to help them’. She said, ‘you are going to get big awards and it’s actually going to come from the Queen. Raymond, you are going to get a Queen’s Award — you can make it happen’. I laughed it off and I said, ‘thank you very much’. 

In 2013, 28 years after his sister Barbara passed away, Raymond Ming received a call that stunned him to silence. It was the personal secretary of the Governor George Fergusson calling and Mr Ming had no idea why.

“I thought I was in trouble,” he laughed. After a few minutes of questions, the lady informed Mr Ming that he had been awarded the Queen’s Certificate & Badge of Honour for his 40-plus years in the hospitality industry — the first Tucker’s Point employee ever to be awarded both.

The Ming brothers and a daughter of a brother. Pictured from left, Llewyn, Raymond, Ted, Ted’s daughter Tedina Wolffe, Leroy, Eugene and Gladstone. Missing are brother Chester and sisters Rose Santucci and Joan Cann as well as Mr Ming’s late mother and father Mabel and Wesley. *Photo supplied

“I was stunned,” he said. “I couldn’t even speak. She said, ‘are you still there?’ I asked her if it was a joke and she promptly told me, ‘we don’t crack jokes at Government House’.”

Asked if he accepted, Mr Ming was too shocked to reply and asked if he could call her back. He sat in his car on Front Street, Hamilton for 55 minutes before a traffic warden warned him he should move along. 

“It was an emotional time for me. What happened is the story I told you before in 1985 when my sister Barbara was dying of cancer and she told me that I was going to win an award, that it wasn’t coming from the government but from the Queen. We were so close..”

Mr Ming is no stranger to winning awards; he has racked up many including Doorman of the Year, Employee of the Year and and the Belco VIP Excellence Award, all three in the same year when he was working at the Elbow Beach Hotel. But the Queen’s awards were different. “I get a lot of awards but this was a big one. I called her back and said, ‘Of course I accept — with dignity’. 

He eventually got to meet the Queen when he was chosen to open the door for her when she visited Tucker’s Point in 2011.

Mr Ming’s experience is not limited to the hospitality industry — he has many strings to his bow.

He has run over 50 Marathons and even remembers his best time, “the Ocean State Marathon in Newport Rhode Island in 1982 — 2 hours, 43 minutes and 11 seconds”. The 66-year-old is currently training for the May 24 Half Marathon. He also played soccer and cricket among other sports.

He ran a convenience store — Ming’s Variety — for 25 years, he worked as a traffic officer for 16 years at TCD and one of the most rewarding jobs he had was as a residential treatment officer for Social Services looking after young men with behavioural challenges. 

All the politicians who used to check on Mr Ming over the years, along with his sister Barbara, instilled him with a passion for politics. In 1998, he ran for Parliament, unsuccessfully, under the UBP at the request of Reggie Minors and Oliver O’Baine. Keen to debate and ever-outspoken he campaigned for his good friend David Dodwell, owner at The Reefs where Mr Ming worked for some time. “I just love talking to Bermudians and guest workers, I was involved for about ten years.”

Today, Mr Ming is a family man — he speaks fondly of Sandra as well as daughter Deandra Brangman — former Top Model winner, son Deon Brangman, top body builder, and grandson, Tahj Bean Mr Ming’s “little joy”.

While hospitality has been the core of Mr Ming’s career, helping people is just a part of his life. Whether it was playing charity gigs with the Strollers, donating his tips to needy families, supporting charities like the Lady Cubitt Compassionate Association, or feeding people in hospital — people are his passion. “I am pro looking after our seniors and our youth. Most are not happy about the violence in Bermuda and it is a concern. But don’t give up on them. I always wanted to do something for Bermuda and help as many people as I can. It’s really been an incredible career and I’ve never done an interview like this. 

“Some people might say I’ve done it my way — I feel very blessed to have been brought up with a good family in the most beautiful place in the world. I’ve semi-retired but I don’t know if you ever retire from the hospitality industry. I travel a lot and I still haven’t found a place as nice as Bermuda. 

“What keeps people coming back is that special welcome, the pride that we show.

“It is overwhelming, I’m very thankful.” 

Tributes to Raymond Ming

• Warren Brown, Son of Archie of Archie Brown & Son wrote to the Bermuda Sun to say: “When I returned from college in the early 50s and joined Archie Brown, later to become Archie Brown & Son, I realized that the island had to change radically by giving opportunities for advancement for everyone in our small population if in the future we were to become an harmonious island. We were fortunate in being able to hire three young Bermudians, Raymond Ming, Leon Dickinson, and Eula Tear. Mr Dickinson also became manager of one of our stores and Eula, later Mrs Austin Thomas, became general manager of all our shops. While I might have provided the opening, I take no credit for the advancement of these youngsters in our society. Mr Ming, as the others did, advanced himself by his hard work, his tolerance towardothers, and his continued interest in honing his skills which were many. I appreciate the article that you have written on his life and I congratulate him most heartily. He has always been a good friend and I know he wont retire but will go on welcoming our visitors as a fine ambassador for Bermuda.”

Quinton Edness is a politician who has known the Ming family for many years. “I watched them all grow up. Ray was always a very solid fella. There used to be times when they were young I would chase them home and prevent them from staying out too late but he was always a responsible young man. At an early age he started working and did extremely well. He wasn’t aggressive he was very nice, friendly and polite. The other thing about him he was always very helpful to other people — he was always very quick to help someone. It didn’t matter whether he knew them or not — if they needed any help of any kind he was always willing to provide it. He was a tremendous organizer — when he decided to manage the Bermuda Strollers he was tremendous at the job he was able to keep them working in Bermuda and in the States. He was that way and he could make tremendous contacts.”

David Furtado, Guest Services/bells department of Rosewood Tuckers Point, worked closely with Mr Ming for over four years. He said: “While interacting with guests Mr Ming always had a smile on his face and you could really see the passion he has for the industry. His determination has helped him achieve a number of successes in his career and working with him has inspired me to achieve higher goals. We are definitely going to miss an individual with a stature like Mr Ming in the future. I would like to wish him the very best, happy and peaceful retirement.

Dale Butler: “Raymond has a Bermuda Spirit that gave us an international reputation for service. A great guy who still has more to give.” 

Rick Santos worked with Mr Ming at Child and Family Services for over ten years. “Ray was a residential care officer and he was a great guy with a good personality. He bonded well with the children and everybody he was in contact with. I’ve known him for a long time he is a very great guy. He takes his time and works with younger children as well. You can’t say more than enough about him. He is just that kind of guy — he goes above and beyond the call of duty, he’s always there and tries to help people the best way he can. He was like a father figure to the children because he’d been around and he’s in the best interest for the kids. Tourists love him because he takes the extra time to make contact with people. 

Deb Waitt met Mr Ming about 40 years ago and he attended her wedding years later. She now lives in New Hampshire. She said: “Back in the 70s when I was single and had girlfriends — I went to Bermuda about 21 times in a period of eight or ten years and met him. I thought holy mackerel he is a pretty amazing guy. Eventually I got married and we parted ways but you get to a certain point in life when you long to reconnect with your past. Through a connection of another friend Meg, we saw a picture of him online working at Rosewood Tucker’s Point. Last Oct he gave me a call and it was astonishing I couldn’t believe it! Bermuda is in a box in my memory as a certain time in my life that was fun and carefree and he was always there as a friend and would be there to take us to the airport and I can never forget his smile — when I hear his voice I see his smile.”