Former United States President Donald Trump announced yesterday that his first wife, Ivana Trump had passed away at age 73.

No official cause of death has yet been revealed, however, several major media outlets have reported that Mrs. Trump was found at the bottom of a stairway at her New York City home.

This suggests that a fall may be involved, but, it is not confirmed, however, it is becoming a likely contributor, if not the cause.

Upon learning about this yesterday, memories of my career with Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts came flooding back like it was yesterday.

Ivana Trump was the Chief Executive Officer at then Trump Castle Casino Resort by the Bay.

She was the owner’s wife, but, make no mistake about it, Ivana Trump ran the property.

When I joined the Trump Castle as Director of Hotel Operations, Mrs. Trump was in charge, but, things would next transition to Ed Tracy and then Nick Ribis, who each served as Chief Executive Officer for all of the Trump Hotel & Casino properties in Atlantic City.

Nick and Mr. Trump brought in Roger Wagner as President and Chief Executive Officer of The Trump Castle.

Roger was fantastic and well thought of in this role.

The first person that I talked to yesterday upon receiving the news of Mrs. Trump’s passing was my “Friend for Life,” Tom Cantone.

Tom was the corporate level Senior Vice President of Entertainment, Marketing and Advertising for all of the Atlantic City Trump properties.

Tom is pictured above with Mrs. Trump, where they enjoyed a close working relationship together.

As their former senior Hotel executive I can tell you that Mrs. Trump was demanding, yet, you always knew it was because she wanted the property to shine, be opulent and positioned to serve the guests at the highest level.

Peter Kramer, Getty Images
Peter Kramer, Getty Images

I have never minded and have always respected a boss with high standards.

During Mrs. Trump’s time as CEO, she was engaged and committed to excellence in service and the overall quality of the product.

She fiercely protected Mr. Trump’s brand and reputation in the hotel casino industry.

Tom Cantone said the following about Mrs. Trump, just a short while after the news of her passing:

I worked very closely with her and we had a great respect for each other. I believe she was the first woman ever to run a major casino , And I was honored to be part of her team at The Castle - said Cantone.

My experience with Mrs. Trump was that she was firm, but, fair. She demanded your best in pursuit of excellence. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

She couldn’t do it any other way. Mrs. Trump was an elite athlete, a championship skier and a member of the Czech Olympic team. She was disciplined and very competitive.

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Mrs. Trump’s personality was formed at an early age, as she fled communism and went on to live the American Dream.

There was an unspoken respect shown, as none of us ever called her Ivana. It was always Mrs. Trump.

A day that I also remember, was when Mrs. Trump left as Chief Executive Officer of The Trump Castle.

In a distinct show of respect, employees lined the first 3 levels of the property to see her off. All of the gathered employees gave Mrs. Trump a standing ovation.

It was a show of support that demonstrated how well she was thought of by all levels of employees at Trump Castle.

Even after Mrs. Trump left her official role as CEO, any time that she would return to the property, each and every employee well knew that her keen eye for attention to every detail would be on display.

I also have fond memories of Mrs. Trump being a very devoted Mom to her three children (with President Trump), Donald, Jr., Ivanka and Eric.

Mrs. Trump found a way to have it all and balance it all. She spent at least 4 days a week at Trump Castle, always staying over for one night each week.

Yet, she was always there for her children.

“I had several dinners with Ivana and all of the Trump kids at the Castle. Who would’ve thought later in life that they would be in the history books,” said Cantone.

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