Five WBF Presidents together: Bobby Wolff, Jaime Ortiz-Patino, Gianarrigo Rona, Ernesto d’Orsi, Jose Damiani
The WBF President Gianarrigo Rona and the WBF Past President and Chairman Emeritus José Damiani represented the World Bridge Federation at the Funeral Ceremony in Sotogrande on Wednesday 9th January 2013.
All of a sudden you passed away in silence leaving us confused and discouraged.
We wrote to each other in November, promising to try to fix a meeting during the holidays or right afterwards, on your way back from one of your usual long travels. Whereas we got this terrible, lifeless news that nobody could ever have expected.
With you, leaving an unforgettable mark worldwide, has also ended an incredible and amazing era for Bridge. Our discipline with you as leader, with your energy and your long lasting view, has grown up and developed. From being a game for a restricted elite it has become a universal sport spread all over the world.
You have been a teacher and a mentor to all of us as we succeeded you. We were and we still are inspired by you as we carry on your legacy. Even if you were not anymore on the highest chair of the WBF you were always at our side giving us the advice we needed to make it through the hardest times.
I especially owe you so much – indeed probably everything as regards my position within the WBF: you believed in me, you endorsed me but the most beautiful present you gave me was your esteem, your confidence and your friendship toward me. I tried to pay back you with my commitment, my enthusiasm and my passion, the passion that you taught me.
I’ve so many, many memoires with you, first of all the meeting in Venice in 1985 as we laid the foundations for the Olympics of 1988 but also that unforgettable night in Istanbul when you offered me the pin as member of the WBF Honour Committee, such a great and unexpected honour. And how could I forget that marvelous lunch we has last January in Milan at the most ancient Italian restaurant, where once again in talking to me you gave me another amazing lesson of life.
As a premonition of your departure, this summer in Lille you gave us your precious book about the WBF’s first fifty years. You had been working on that for a very long time and you had finally succeeded in publishing it. An amazing present that stands up for your way of being.
Dear Jimmy from your green and beloved Valderrama, where you established an everlasting legacy, you flew back to the heaven where you will meet your beloved family and friends as Bob Howes, Edgar Kaplan & Pietro Bernasconi with whom, I’m sure, you are already playing the bridge of your life.
Goodbye Jimmy, you’ll always have a special place in our hearts.