• Biography
  • Milestones
  • Quotes
  • Photos
  • Learn More

Wyonne Seaton Paine
March 2, 1923-April 12, 2020
Teacher, tennis champion, podiatrist

Wyonne Paine, a respected physical education teacher and top tennis player during the 1940s and 1950s, was member of a family that left an indelible mark in public service in Bermuda.

In 1954, she moved to the United Kingdom, where she retrained as a podiatrist and would spend the rest of her life.  She married Rex Paine, an accountant, and together they raised three sons and a daughter.

She was the eldest of four children of Eva and Dudley Seaton. She died In Maidenhead, Berkshire, England, on April 12, 2020. She was aged 97 and the last surviving Seaton sibling.


Born Wyonne Seaton and raised in a culturally rich home on Smith Hill, Pembroke. Her parents were immigrants from St Kitts.  She attended Central School and The Berkeley Institute, followed by teacher’s training school overseas.

Her carpenter father was a trustee of the Bermuda Workers Association and a signatory of the landmark petition that Dr. E. F. Gordon took to London in 1946. In a 2013 interview, Paine described her father as a “loyal supporter” of Dr. Gordon.

The petition was a formal request by the BWA, the forerunner of the Bermuda Industrial Union, for the UK government to investigate racial segregation, limited voting rights and a host of other political ills.

Free primary schooling was the only immediate result, but the petition paved the way for future developments that her two younger siblings were well placed to take advantage of.


Her sister Ruth Seaton James became registrar general and parliamentary registrar, and the first black person to head a government department in 1966. Her brother, Dr. Earle Seaton, became Bermuda’s first black Supreme Court judge in 1972, although he spent most of his career in Africa, primarily in Tanzania, but also in the Seychelles, where he became Chief Justice.
The youngest sibling, Charles, died by drowning on North Shore, Devonshire in 1951, three months after graduating from Ryerson Institute of Technology in Toronto, where he had studied publishing and printing. He is said to have been Ryerson’s first black graduate.

While Earle and Charles played the violin, Wyonne’s gifts were in sports. In the segregated Bermuda of the 1940s and 1950s, she was a regular competitor in tennis tournaments, winning singles and doubles titles as a member of the Somers Isle Lawn Tennis Association, which had an all-black membership.

In 1952, she missed out on the opportunity to play visiting tennis great Althea Gibson in an exhibition match in Bermuda because she had been dethroned as champion that year by her rival Quillard Martin.

Wyonne Seaton Paine (left) and her tennis rival Quillard Martin during their heyday.
Photo: Fame Magazine.


At Central, she taught swimming and dance as part of her physical education classes. When she resigned in 1954 to move to the U.K., headmaster Victor Scott said her position would be “exceedingly difficult to fill".

Although the U.K. would become her permanent home — the Paines also lived in Nigeria for a time — Paine remained in close contact with her Bermuda relatives.

Following her death, niece Evelyn James-Barnett told The Royal Gazette: “She was as strong in character and opinion, as she was in physical strength, a stalwart as the last matriarch of the Seaton family.  She loved her homeland, and was grateful in later years for anything brought to her from Bermuda — cassava or farine pie, Bermuda souvenirs, a calendar, or even just the political news of the day which she always enjoyed discussing with fervour.”

Paine was survived by sons Gregory, Colin and David, and grandchildren Miranda and Edward Paine, as well as James-Barnett and Joni Seaton Charles, the daughters of Ruth Seaton James, and Elizabeth Seaton, the daughter of Earle Seaton. She was predeceased by her husband and daughter, Gloria.

Bookmark and Share


No content available at this time.


No content available at this time.


No content available at this time.


Further Reading

“Central School Prize-Giving; Enrolment is Over 1,100”, The Royal Gazette, December 16, 1949

“Bermudian Teacher Taking a Course in England”, The Royal Gazette, August 22, 1950

“Annual Convention of Union of Teachers”, The Royal Gazette, March 24, 1951

“Sex Education in Schools Topic at BUT Convention”, The Royal Gazette, March 29, 1951.

“Somers Isles Tennis Tourney Progresses”, Bermuda Recorder, November 8, 1952

“Report on Central School Activities Made at Annual Prize-Giving”, Bermuda Recorder, March 10, 1954

“Central School PTA Elects New Officers”, Bermuda Recorder, October 20, 1954

“Great Moments in Sports”, Fame Magazine, September 1975.

Reports of Somers Isle Lawn Tennis Association matches in the Bermuda Recorder and The Royal Gazette from the 1940s to 1953.

© Bermuda Biographies. All Rights Reserved.
Site design by Kaleidoscope Media