Nicholas Bayard Dill Jr (1932-2020)

  • At the helm: Nicholas Bayard Dill Jr, an accomplished lawyer and businessman in Bermuda, is perhaps best remembered for his love of the sea (Photograph supplied)

    At the helm: Nicholas Bayard Dill Jr, an accomplished lawyer and businessman in Bermuda, is perhaps best remembered for his love of the sea (Photograph supplied)


A top businessman, lawyer and sailor whose seafaring roots went back centuries on the island has died.

Nicholas Bayard Dill Jr, who competed in several Newport Bermuda sailing races and other championships, was 88.

Mr Dill rose to senior partner at legal firm Conyers Dill&Pearman and was chairman of the board at Watlington Waterworks utility from 1985 to 2017, after serving on its board from 1966.

Mr Dill was involved in the family-owned Ariel Sands Limited, the South Shore resort in his home parish of Devonshire, and held directorships in companies including World Wide Shopping, Steamship Mutual, The Northern Club, Fred Olsen, Courange and Betco.

His son, the Right Reverend Nicholas Dill, the Anglican Bishop of Bermuda, said his father, as a master carpenter, had known “about good joints and strong glue”.

Bishop Dill added: “He and our mother were an amazingly humble and strongly united force in our family and the glue that held us together was loving commitment to each other and to all of us.

“He was an amazingly engaged grandfather — teaching his grandchildren many life lessons and practical skills — with a gentle teasing air and a capacity for awful puns.

“There were many outside of his immediate family who also saw him as their grandfather — or Bompa, as he was called by them.

“As a dad, he always found ways to connect. He had many passions and loved to involve us in them, patient in his teaching. But if we were passionate about anything, he tried to enter into our worlds and join in.”

Mr Dill’s love of the sea was reflected in his roles as commodore of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club and chairman emeritus at the Bermuda Sloop Foundation.

But it was also evident in his legal practice — when he joined CD&P, he specialised in maritime law and dealt with shipping companies around the world.

His family added that he was also a “pioneering” lawyer in the emerging industry of reinsurance.

His funeral was held at Old Devonshire Church last Friday.

A family tribute said Mr Dill was “old school — he said what he meant”.

The son of Sir Bayard Dill, a founder member of CD&P, Mr Dill attended Saltus Grammar School, and was Called to the Bar at Middle Temple in London.

He started at CD&P as an associate in 1958, and in 1960 met Birgitte Brodtkorb, originally from Norway and married her that year.

The couple were often on the water and took part in sailing cruises around the world.

He is survived by his wife, along with children Karin, Nicholas and Patrick, as well as 12 grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.

A former senior partner at CD&P said Mr Dill “was very good with, and encouraging of, young lawyers and always willing to listen and help with their problems”.

He added: “It was hard not to respect Nicky highly in any circumstance or context where one found oneself engaged with him.

“His analysis was always clear, his approach always thorough, and his advice always spot-on, yet practical.

“He was everything a good lawyer should be.”

Mr Dill was the longest-serving chairman in Watlington Waterworks’ history.

Lieutenant-Colonel Allan Rance, the chief executive of the company, said Mr Dill had joined in 1966.

He added that Jim Brock, who served with Mr Dill as director for more than 30 years, said he was a “very kind person who had a great sense of humour, and was always prepared to listen to, and evaluate points of view with which he disagreed, rather than summarily dismissing them out of hand”.

John Carey, another director, called him “a total gentleman of quiet demeanour, who had the ability to listen to sometimes differing views at board meetings and sum up the situation in brief concise terms, usually accompanied by his gentle smile”.

Michael Darling, also a board colleague, said Mr Dill showed a gift for listening, balancing different points of view, and forming a consensus.

He added: “He loved the Watlington Waterworks as a unique Bermuda company created by his grandfather, and he had a strong sense of duty to guide the company forward for the betterment of the community.

“He trusted and let the staff run the company while remaining firmly in charge of policy.”

Nicholas Bayard Dill Jr, lawyer, businessman and sailor, was born on May 20, 1932. He died this month, aged 88

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Published Oct 7, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Oct 8, 2020 at 6:30 am)

Nicholas Bayard Dill Jr (1932-2020)

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