Ivana Trump as CEO of Trump Castle Casino Resort in Atlantic City

Former United States President Donald Trump announced yesterday that his first wife, Ivana Trump, died at the age of 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 flight of stairs in her New York home.

This suggests that a fall may be involved, but, this is unconfirmed, however, it does become a likely contributor, if not the cause.

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

Ivana Trump was the General Manager of Trump Castle Casino Resort by the Bay.

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

When I joined Trump Castle as Director of Hotel Operations, Mrs. Trump was in charge, but things would then pass to Ed Tracy and then Nick Ribis, who each served as General Manager of All Properties of the Trump Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City.

Nick and Mr. Trump tapped Roger Wagner as President and CEO of The Trump Castle.

Roger was fantastic and well thought out in this role.

The first person I spoke to yesterday after hearing the news of Mrs Trump’s death was my ‘friend for life’ Tom Cantone.

Tom was the senior vice president of entertainment, marketing and corporate-level advertising for all Atlantic City Trump properties.

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

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

Peter Kramer, Getty Images

Peter Kramer, Getty Images

It never bothered me and I always respected a boss with high standards.

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

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

Tom Cantone said the following about Mrs. Trump, shortly after news of her death was announced:

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

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

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

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

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

A day that I also remember was when Mrs. Trump left as CEO of The Trump Castle.

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

It was a show of support that demonstrated how highly regarded she was by all levels of Trump Castle employees.

Even after Mrs. Trump left her formal position as CEO, each time she returned to the property, every employee knew her keen sense of 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 has found a way to have it all and balance it all. She spent at least 4 days a week at Trump Castle, always staying there one night a week.

Yet she was always there for her children.

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

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