Sgt. Steve Dunleavy
We were deeply saddened to report that our good friend and former colleague, retired Sergeant Steve Dunleavy, passed away at the Lahey Clinic in Boston on 29th December 2023. Steve had been taken ill here on Island and was flown to Lahey for treatment but sadly succumbed to his illness.
John Stephen Dunleavy was born in Bolton, Lancashire, in June 1946, and was raised a proud Boltonian. His first taste of policework was as a young constable in the Lancashire Police where he served from November 1965 to December 1967 prior to joining the Bermuda Police. Steve arrived on Island on 15th January 1968, along with fellow recruits Anthony “Tony” Smith, Eric Sanderson, David “Dai” Thomas, Alex Arnfield, Gerald Gerry” Molloy, and David Anderson, all of whom had previous police experience in the UK.
Following attendance at a Localisation Course, Steve was posted to Western Division (Somerset) where he worked initially in uniform before being posted to Western CID as an Aide in July 1968. Being a detective was definitely his calling and Steve spent most of his police career in CID. Following a short spell in Central Division uniform (Hamilton), he returned to Western CID, then to Central CID where he also worked on the Murder Squad. While in Murder Room he was a member of the team investigating the murders of Commissioner George Duckett and Governor Sir Richard Sharples.
Steve carried with him grim memories of the horrendous double murder at the Shopping Centre on Victoria Street where, in the words of Mel Ayton in his book 'Justice Denied', "Detective Constable John (Steve) Dunleavy was the first officer on the scene and immediately closed off the premises."
Steve continued mainly in CID and was promoted to Sergeant in September 1978 at which time he was appointed OIC Western CID. A Jack-of-all-Trades, Steve went on to serve in Narcotics, Eastern Uniform, Western Uniform and in Central CID. In 1983, he was awarded the Colonial Police Medal for Long Service and Good Conduct. He retired in November 1997 after almost 30 years, and there’s no question that policing was a central part of Steve’s life.
Steve had married his lovely wife, Susan (nee Pennington) in December 1970, and they had three children, Sean, Christian and Katherine. They now have 7 grandchildren.
While his children were at school Steve became heavily involved with the Bermuda Red Cross in the 1980's and 1990's, teaching CPR, including at the Saltus After-Schools Club, and running the Red Cross White's Island camp many times.
Steve was active in sports and played football for Prospect FC in the Commercial League.
He also played some cricket for Police in the BCA League. He had played cricket as a teenager in England and even received a little coaching from the great Garfield "Gary" Sobers who was then playing in the Lancashire League. However, Steve decided that cricket was not really his sport even though he remained an avid fan of the game as evidenced by a trip he made in 2022 with his daughter Katherine to watch the 2nd Test Match between England and West Indies at Kensington Oval, Barbados, where England were soundly beaten.
Steve did, however, excell as an outstanding snooker player winning the Bermuda Singles snooker championship five times ('86. '88, '89, '92 and '93), and winning the doubles title three times with fellow policeman Andy Wright in the 1980's. Steve played for many years for the Police team and later for Warwick Workmen’s Club.
Snooker Doubles Champions Steve Dunleavy and Andy Wright
Always a keen fan of snooker and football, Steve travelled to the UK with his son Christian as recently as this November 2023 to watch the Champion of Champions Snooker Finals, won by Mark Allen, at the University of Bolton Stadium.
They also attended Toughsheet Stadium to watch their team Bolton Wanderers win 1-0 against Blackpool. Ever since he was a youngster Steve had been an ardent fan of Bolton and their superstar, Nat Lofthouse. He had a season ticket from the age of five.
Steve was always proud of his Boltonian heritage, but he was also proud of being a Bermudian. Whenever he travelled abroad he loved to wear his Bermuda shorts and had no hesitation telling everyone he was a Bermudian. However, November in England was just too cold for shorts, even for Steve, so he made sure to wear his Bermuda "shirts"!
Following his retirement Steve was a regular attendee at our ExPo functions and at the annual Ex-Police Officers pre-Christmas Lunches held at the Mad Hatters restaurant at Mariners Club. He was there 3 weeks ago enjoying the camaraderie of meeting up with many of his old police friends and colleagues.
Our ExPo members both here and abroad will be deeply saddened to hear of Steve’s passing, and we offered our sincere condolences to Sue, their children, Sean, Christian and Katherine, and their spouses, along with their 7 grandchildren, and other relatives and friends.