Ron Rosedam, a popular Hanham taxi driver for nearly 40 years, has died.
“Ron was legendary not only for his car’s leopard skin furry seats, humbug mints and Shaggy playlist, but also for his cheerful chat and dependable driving. Ron loved getting to know people from all walks of life. It was the perfect job for him,” his daughter Sophie said.
Ron, who retired four years ago, around the time of his 80th birthday, was one of the Windrush generation. He arrived in the UK in November 1962 from Jamaica and died on June 24, just two days after the 75th anniversary celebrations of those who came from the Caribbean to help rebuild Britain after World War Two.
In a memoir written for his three grandchildren, Ron wrote of the shock of his arrival.
“I had never felt cold the likes of which I experienced during my first winter in the UK. It was November 1962 … one of the coldest winters on record. It was the kind of wind that penetrates not only layers of clothes but flesh and bone!”
Ron started his working life at an engineering company, then as a welder. After training and perfecting his skills, he gained a job at Rolls-Royce where he worked on parts used on Concorde. In the 1980s he worked for six years at engineering company. His attention to detail and steady hand meant he also worked doing painting and decorating, but he will be best known for his decades driving taxis.
Making good friends was not always easy. As he recalled in his memoir, when he first started working in the UK “some of the blokes would call me the ‘N-word’ and other things … I was never offended. From my point of view, they just didn’t know any better”.
Sophie said: “His calm and forgiving manner was a strong part of his character and he gained a strong sense of community with family members in Bristol and abroad and friends he gained over the years. He was a doting father and dedicated granddad to three grandchildren, who he was delighted to introduce to his hometown of St. Annes in Jamaica during a family holiday in April.
“Ron was a big fan of cricket, dominos and dancing. On the day he passed, he spent the morning shimmying across the kitchen, throwing his best moves to his favourite records.”
A Nine Night celebration of Ron’s life was held at the Rose Green Centre in Whitehall on July 21. His funeral will be held on August 8 at 11am at Bethel Church, Church Road, Bristol.