Oct 24, 2012 Sports
Members of the Guyana Association of Scrabble Players (GASP) are still to come to grips with the harsh reality that one of their members, Rudolph Orlando Michael, has succumbed following a brief period of hospitalization at the Woodlands Hospital, Carmichael Street, Georgetown. He was 85 years old.
Rudolph is the father of another top scrabble player, Orlando, and is also regarded as the father of the sport by dint of his involvement from the inauguration of the GASP.
According to his daughter, Hazel Woolford, her father complained of feeling unwell about three weeks ago and family members took him to the Woodlands Hospital where medical practitioners prescribed saline while admitting him into the institution. Up to then his condition was listed as stable and no one envisaged his death. The situation took a turn for the worse and on Saturday October, 20 last, at just around 13:45hrs, he drew his last breath.
R O, as he was fondly called, was a sportsman of no mean order. He was an excellent swimmer and also played cricket during his youthful days. His love for the sport remained intact even unto his senior years when he would stay up late into the night following the exploits of West Indian cricketers as they sought to bring glory to the region.
Later on, when his frail body could no longer endure the rigors of cricket and swimming, R O developed a love for indoor games. He played darts, pools, billiards, dominoes and eventually turned to scrabble. In fact, he established himself as a scrabble player, in the early 1960s in Linden and later became a founder member of the GASP. He was integral in the organizing of tournaments and was solely responsible for purchasing and labeling the trophies, a task he performed with distinction. R O also played a mean game of scrabble and those competing against him can attest to the many times they had challenged his words, confident that they were invalid, only to become disappointed or even dismayed after the words were deemed valid.
Otherwise, R O would have served this nation in several other capacities; he was a teacher, postal supervisor and a storekeeper. He was also a dedicated Christian and was an ordained Elder in the Christian Catholic Church and preached the word of God in several parts of the country. R O was also a licensed marriage officer and conducted funerals.
R O was also a trade unionist, political activist, and community worker and ended his career as a trade unionist as a Vice- President in the Postal Workers Union. Though he had not obtained a secondary education, he was ambitious and successfully completed the Pupil Teachers’ Examination and later became a teacher, in the Industrial Arts department where he specialized in woodwork. He was also an accomplished musician and was trained in the intricacies of the tradition by the late Valerie Rodway, the mother of the late Chancellor of the Judiciary, J. O. Haynes.
Thereafter, he performed at concerts at the New Amsterdam Town Hall among other notable places. It was after he had resigned from teaching that he had entered the postal service, like so many of his contemporaries including his brothers, Rudy and Cedric Grant. He came from good stock and like his father, shared a love of public speaking and, singing.
R O’s remains will be cremated at the Good Hope Crematorium tomorrow October 25 at 10:30hrs. The management and staff of Kaieteur News wish to convey deep sympathy to the family, friends and members of GASP on the passing of this sport stalwart. May his soul rest in peace!
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