A PASSION FOR LIFE
fter a colorful life as a Royal Air Force aircrew, ‘newspaper man’, teacher, professor and father, Ronald Samuda is looking forward to the days when he and wife Madeleine can relax on the terrace of their oceanfront residence at The Palmyra. Looking forward to a life in the Jamaican sunshine, Ron and Madeleine shared a sliver of their fascinating history with the Jamaica Tourist.
Born in the hillside town of Mandeville, Jamaica in 1922, Ron left Tutorial College at age 14 to enter the publishing business at the Gleaner Company in Kingston. In 1941, he set sail for England on a Jamaica Producers banana boat to join the Second World War effort. Volunteering for the Royal Air Force, the young pilot-in-training became famous for mistaking his instructor’s disappearance from the aircraft as an invitation to pilot the plane, one of the many adventures Ron’s vivid memory recollects as though it were yesterday. Ron’s patriotic efforts in the Royal Air Force, which took him from the British Isles to as far afield as South Africa, even led to a stint in a military prison.
Upon his return to England, Ron married and started a family. In 1953, he decided to follow in his sister’s footsteps and relocate across the Atlantic to Canada. Settled in Ottawa with his first wife and four children, Ron began studying psychology at the University of Ottawa, while teaching and working at a local newspaper to support his growing brood. The young man, who had never graduated from high school, pursued his academic studies tirelessly and was rewarded for his efforts with a PhD in Education and Psychology in 1966. While the couple was blessed with four more children, Ron’s wife sadly passed away and he was left to raise seven girls and one boy on his own. According to Ron, it was a “well organized, tight-knit family unit which ran like a business.” Ron in the Royal Air Force (Photo: contributed by the Samudas)
Ron’s life took a surprising turn in 1967 when French high school teacher Madeleine and her German girl-friend Heike stopped in Vancouver, where Ron was living at the time, for what was supposed to be a short working stint. The travelling duo was looking for a way to replenish their funds on their ‘tour around the world’, so that they could continue to Australia, the next destination on their itinerary. While Madeleine found a job as a teacher, Heike found work as a secretary, but fate intervened and the two Europeans never quite made it ‘down under’. In Vancouver, both met their future husbands and after Ron and Madeleine got married, she joined the family and helped raise his three youngest children. Ron during his time at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario (Photo: contributed by the Samudas)
Ron’s penchant for moving around may stem from his days in the military. As a professor, he taught at illustrious institutions such as Stanford and Columbia in the US and Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada. In addition to serving as a Director for the Institute at Princeton’s Educational Testing Service, the academic taught winter semesters at the Center for Psychological Studies at Nova Southwestern University in Fort Lauderdale from 1987 to 2001. After an illustrious career, he finally retired with the title of Professor of Psychology Emeritus in 2001.
The Palmyra Resort & Spa’s Director of Sales Debra Derrick with Ron and Madeleine Samuda (Photo: Heidi Zech)
and the other half in Vancouver, but she is wrong! We are going to spend a minimum of 10 months a year here.” While Madeleine says she is going to miss the changing seasons of Canada, Ron explains with heartfelt emotion how much he has truly missed Jamaica all these years. Says the one-of-a-kind intellectual; “I have missed the language and hearing people who sound like me. That language is in my heart. Every time I wake up in the morning and feel the warmth of the sun, I know this is MY sun. When I hear the music at night, this is MY music. I love the attitude. The people are relaxed and you know you are talking to people with soul.”
The Samudas fell in love with The Palmyra on a trip to Jamaica in 2006, when they spotted a billboard on the property’s construction site on their way to Silver Sands in Trelawny. After listening to the presentation at the Sales Center, both Ron and his sister Olivene put down deposits on residences the very same day. Says Madeleine; “To us, The Palmyra seems like the place to be. It has everything – the spa, membership to three golf courses, the club house, two restaurants and the gourmet shop.” Both anxious to move into their residence, Madeleine is especially thrilled about the fact that she won’t have to think about furnishing the two-bedroom condominium. “It is fully furnished and I won’t have to worry about anything, not even pots and pans or towels,” she says.
Determined and hard-working, Ron’s life of success and adventure has eventually led him back home to the land of his birth. With Madeleine at his side, the two will enjoy the fruits of their labor in an environment that offers them a relaxed and luxurious lifestyle and, most importantly, a sunny climate among the best in the world.
The publisher of 8 academic books, Ron now looks forward to some well deserved R&R in his new home at The Palmyra. Reveals the scholar; “Madeleine thinks we are going to spend half the time here in Jamaica
Ron surrounded by his family on his 80th birthday. Back row from left: Jonathan, Heidi, Carmen, Jacqueline, Anita, front row from left Angela, Rita, Jonathan’s wife Heasook, Ron and Lisa (Photo contributed by the Samudas)