RG Construction

Construction industry hero reflects on six decades as a builder

RobertGeorge Peets sealed a reputation as Bermuda’s top tiler
Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

For RobertGeorge Peets, building has always been a way of life. 

Raised in Smith’s by proper Bermudian parents, RobertGeorge engaged with a “letter-based” education until he was about 15½. 

He was a student at the Prospect School for Boys when he decided: “It was better for me to go. I had put 2½ years up there, and I felt like I was wasting my time.” 

Mr Peets did not believe that the school was a good fit for him. Besides: “At the end of the day, I wanted to be a mason,” he declared matter-of-factly. 

“My dad was the best mason that the island had at the time, so, I went to work with my dad. At 15½, my first job was at Hog Bay Level, at a house across the street from the lodge on Hog Bay Level. 

“We used to make 7.30 to work, have an hour for lunch, and after work my dad used to play Euchre, because that was a pastime back then. I was stuck on the job because I was travelling with my dad – and travelling with my dad, I would get a chance to ask questions. 

“My dad was the best mason. He had an answer for everything he did, and I had a question for everything he was doing.” 

And so Mr Peets became a skilled mason. 

“So much so, that at 17 I took on my tools. I was doing a job for my uncle, and one Saturday morning this gentleman said that he was going to leave. He was a mason – a halfway mason. He said he was going to leave, and I said, ‘Great. If I was you, I would leave too!’ 

“I went right down Standard Hardware, bought all the tools I’d need. The next morning, I was a mason.” 

The rest – as the saying goes – is history! 

Now knocking on 80-years-young, Mr Peets is full of memories, and stories of a life lived well, but perhaps the most compelling constant about speaking with him about his life in the construction industry in Bermuda is the palpable reverence in his voice when he talks about his father. Regularly describing his dad as a “super, super smart man”, his face beams with pride at the mere thought of being his father’s son. 

Sitting in his custom-built ‘man-cave’ on the grounds of the home he built with his father when his eldest son, Anthony, was just 18 months old, Mr Peets is surrounded by his own small empire. 

There’s a corner koi pond, a flatscreen TV, an exercise bike, and a board that is covered in photos of his beloved Paulette, who he married at 21 and lost a few years ago. 

Mr Peets’ pride in his family is rivalled only by his pride in his work – he still gushes over a tile floor he installed at Oleander Cycles in Paget decades ago, testifying that it still looks brand new to this day! 

“At 17½ I tiled my first bathroom,” Mr Peets reminisces. “The tile is still on the wall today. So, at the end of the day, I became a tiler. I became the island’s best tiler. You ask anybody, they’ll tell you Peets.” 

Is he really the best tiler in Bermuda? “I’m the second best, but I’m still looking for the best,” he says with a sly smile. 

Learning his trade the way he did afforded Mr Peets the opportunity to build a life on his own terms, as an independent contractor. An independent contractor has to stand on their skill and craftsmanship: a bad job means a bad reputation, and a bad reputation for an independent contractor means a very short career. 

Mr Peets is content now, having enjoyed a stellar 62-year career as a top Bermudian builder. 

Write A Comment