Llewellyn Hollis (1936-2020)
Tributes have been paid to one of Bermuda’s most celebrated fishermen, who died on Thursday, aged 84.
Llewellyn Hollis, who helped save many lives on rescue missions, was described by the community affairs minister as “a true Bermudian treasure”.
Lovitta Foggo, the Minister of Community Affairs and Sport, said: “Mr Hollis was considered one of Bermuda’s finest fishermen who was committed to the arts of the sea throughout the course of his life, including making shark-oil barometers, scuba diving, and powerboat racing.
“In addition to being one of the tradition bearers who represented Bermuda in the 2001 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, he was also the subject of a full-length documentary produced in 2013 by the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs celebrating his maritime knowledge.
“He was indeed a true Bermudian treasure.”
Mr Hollis was born in Hamilton in 1936 and moved to a home near Boss’s Cove, Spanish Point, when he was aged 4 or 5.
His eldest son, Hugh Hollis, described his father as “a family man”.
“He loved his grandchildren and loved to take them fishing,” he said.
“He would sit us down and tell us stories about Bermuda and about our family.
“He was married to my mom for many years. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary not long ago.
“He was one of a kind and was one of those types of people who could do anything with his hands. He was very much an engineer.”
He added: “He was a naturalist and was concerned about the sea and spent the majority of his life on the ocean — he was a third-generation fisherman. That was his life and he loved to give back to the community.”
Mr Hollis started fishing during the holidays when he was 5, and learnt from watching his grandmother and mother fishing off the rocks with their lines to catch bait.
His grandmother would take him out on the water in her punt, and he would go out with various fishermen to learn various types of fishing.
As an adult, he ran the Boss’s Cove Boatyard.
Like most commercial fishermen of the era, he did not fish full-time to make his living.
He began work as monotype operator for the Mid-Ocean News and then worked in a garage on large motorbikes, cars, outboards and racing motorboats.
At one stage, he was involved with the Bermuda Power Boat Association, becoming one of the commodores. Later he was hired by the Hamilton Princess as a staff engineer.
Taking the midnight to 8am shift allowed him to work on building his own boat, with the help of Tony Soares: a motorcraft made out of wood, much of which was cedar, which he named Lana J and finished in 1971.
Mr Hollis was accustomed to going out to sea in all weather, and was responsible for a number of rescues, especially to the north and northwest of the island. A number of people owe their lives to him.
In recognition of his rescues, Mr Hollis was made Water Safety Person of the Year in 1999, along with Mark Selley.
He became a full-time commercial fisherman, but by 2010 retired to provide bait for charter fishermen, marinas and tour boat operators, and also served on the Historic Wrecks Authority.
In 2001, he participated in the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, and gave talks on fishing tips, guidelines and equipment. He later gave many talks to schools and charitable organisations and informally mentored many younger fishermen.
Llewellyn Hollis: Fisherman is part of the Bermuda Folklife Documentary Series produced by the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs, and can be viewed on the Department’s YouTube channel, Bermuda Culture.
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