|Leonard Frederick Wade
Former Leader of the Opposition of Bermuda
Leonard Frederick Wade was a Bermudian politician and a former Leader of the Opposition in Bermuda.
Early life and education
Leonard Frederick Wade was born on 28 June 1939 in Devonshire. Educated at Central School and the Berkeley Institute, he would pursue a teaching career, going off to Ottawa, Canada. He then went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in economics from Queens University.
Wade spent a number of years as a teacher before entering the political world. He taught at Prospect Primary School from 1965 to 1966, and with his newly-minted degree in hand, joined the staff of Sandys Secondary School, where he taught from 1966 to 1968.
He joined the Progressive Labour Party (PLP) in 1963 and was an active member of the old Devonshire branch. He ran in the 1968 election, the first election in Bermuda under universal adult suffrage, and was elected. Howeverm tthe United Bermuda Party (UBP), which was founded in 1964 by the powerful banker Sir Henry Tucker, trounced the PLP, winning 30 of 40 seats in Parliament. There were two Members of Parliament (MPs) for each of the 20 constituencies and Wade and his mentor, Lois Browne-Evans won in Devonshire North.
Since he could no longer be a public education teacher as well as a parliamentarian, Wade needed to become economically independent. In 1973, he went off to London to earn a law degree. When a General Election was called in 1976, he walked away from his bar exams to contest his seat in the Legislature. He successfully did this and returned to the United Kingdom, completing his legal studies at the Inns of Court, London, qualifying as a barrister. On 4 April 1977, he was called to the Bermuda bar and joined Browne-Evans’ law practice on Court Street.
Wade, as a member of the Opposition, held a number of shadow ministries, including finance, home affairs and education, and he served as deputy leader of the party from 1976 to 1980.
After the 1993 election, it was clear that the UBP was struggling with a steadily declining majority, the failed independence referendum and the McDonald’s controversy that followed. Through all of this, L.F. Wade had positioned the PLP to be the obvious alternative government in waiting.
Yet with the party on the cusp of victory, L. Frederick Wade died suddenly.
Wade was married on 29 December 1959 to his childhood sweetheart Marilyn Edwards. They were divorced in 1977. Wade later married second wife Norma Wilson Morant. He married a third time. On 18 March 1989, Ianthia Simmons became his wife. On July 8, 1991, they became parents of triplets, Ceola, Kamela and Frederick.
Death and legacy
Wade died on 13 August 1996, aged 57. The L. F. Wade International Airport in his honour.