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Hilda McMartin

Hilda McMartin

There are only a few legendary "Grand" Ladies of Croquet and Hilda McMartin is certainly one of the Grandest.

As a charter member of the Croquet Club of Bermuda, Hilda, along with her late husband and Hall-of-Famer, Duncan McMartin, made croquet an integral part of their lives. Their beautiful home in Tucker's Town Elephant Walk came complete with a patio shaped croquet court in which a palm tree flourished in the middle. During the early days of modern American croquet, Bermuda, New York and Palm Beach served as the only major Tournament facilities for this fledgling sport. Hilda actually played in each of these venues before Duncan, religiously participating in what were then the three major Invitationals each year. Furthermore, she always threw her generous efforts into hosting parties for the Bermuda event.

Along with her two close Bermudian friends Nelga Young and Josi Finsness, Hilda brought recognition to top level women players. These three ladies have been in the forefront of Championship play for years.

As the sport progressed, particularly in Bermuda, so did Hilda. Old Elephant Walk, which sat atop the highest point in Bermuda, was sold and the new Elephant Walk, complete with a full size croquet court looming over the Mid-Ocean golf course emerged complete with a Big Game room housing Duncan's hunting trophies. Since its completion the new Elephant Walk has become a landmark of beauty in Bermuda and home of one of the great croquet courts in the world. The Finals of the prestigious annual Bermuda Invitational are held at Hilda's home and her lavish hospitality is renowned throughout the croquet world.

Although her life as a world traveller, her residences in New York, Palm Beach and Bermuda and her coterie of influencial friends all paint a picture of elegant beauty, it is Hilda's uncompromising spirit, zest for life and boisterous humor which are her most endearing qualities.

"When she loves you-she loves you. When she doesn't-you will know". Actually, Hilda is a woman of fierce loyalties. Perhaps this explains why her dedication to the sport is still as strong as ever. Her distant Tucker's Town neighbors are often informed of a croquet match in progress at Elephant Walk by hearing a resounding "My God, what the hell kind of shot was that?" echoing down the mountainside. Likewise veteran Calcutta auctioneers at the various Palm Beach and Bermuda Invitationals would not dream of starting the auction until Hilda arrives. Hilda buys so many teams that she is almost sure of never winning money — even if her teams win. This is the spirit, the panache and the love that is Hilda.

It has been a continuing pleasure to have known and loved Hilda and we hope many more of you will experience the pleasure and privilege of associating with this great lady. Welcome — Hilda — to the US Croquet Hall of Fame.

Hilda McMartin was inducted into the United States Croquet Hall of Fame in 1985.

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