Owner of The Cheese Shop dies in ocean while on vacation with wife

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — The owner of The Cheese Shop and Fat Canary, famed Williamsburg dining spots, died while on vacation with his wife.

Tom and Mary Ellen Power were on vacation in Bermuda with other family members this week.

“Our parents were very much looking forward to this trip. Bermuda is a place they loved and had vacationed many times over their 56 years of marriage,” family members wrote in a Facbook post. “Their first trip to Bermuda was for their honeymoon in August 1961. This current trip was scheduled for June 6-16, 2017 and they traveled with our Uncle Bill and Aunt Faye (Mom’s oldest brother and sister-in law). Our parents, Uncle Bill and Aunt Faye have traveled often together over the years; and have taken many wonderful and happy trips together. This past week, while in Bermuda, they spent a day on the ocean watching the America’s Cup race. They also spent lots of time on the beach, swimming and generally enjoying everything.”

For Tom, 81, swimming in the ocean was more than just a fun way to spend time at the beach.

“He loved the waves, and frequently swam out farther than anyone else. Swimming in the ocean was his favorite form of exercise,” family members wrote. “On Monday night, there was a big storm and it changed the current and water temperature. When my father swam the next morning, it’s possible that the current or colder water made it difficult for him. Mom told us he showed good strong strokes when he arrived at the platform but when he tried to return, he got caught up in the current. She said he continued to swim with deliberate and strong strokes, and then abruptly stopped. A few hotel guests and a lifeguard swam out to help him, but it was too late.

“Daddy was 81. He was swimming in the beautiful blue water of Bermuda and he was with my mother, the love of his life. He had a great life. We’re incredibly proud of both he and our Mom. We look forward to our Mother returning home very soon. It’s been a great comfort knowing that Bill and Faye are with her at this time. We’ll soon plan a great celebration to honor our father. Daddy loved and adored our Mom, his family, our business and staff, and had more friends than can be counted! We will all miss him terribly.”