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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, May 29, 2024
HomeNewsArchivesLEON HESS DEAD AT 85


Leon Hess, founder of the Amerada Hess Corp. and owner of the New York Jets, died Friday morning in New York City's Lenox Hill Hospital. Hess was 85.
Hess had personally negotiated with Gov. Ralph M. Paiewonsky back in the 1960s to establish the Hess Oil Virgin Islands Corp. refinery in St. Croix. He played a major economic role in the Virgin Islands over the ensuing decades and was one of those who stepped forward to help after Hurricane Hugo devastated St. Croix in 1989.
Isidor Paiewonsky, brother of the former governor, said upon learning of Hess' death that Hess had made a great impact on the Virgin Islands.
"He created jobs and income for a lot of people. And he did it very quietly," he said.
"Hess influenced the lives of a lot of people in a very positive way," Paiewonsky added.
Noel Loftus, president of the St. Croix Chamber of Commerce, said, "Mr. Hess was certainly a friend of St. Croix. We are very sorry to hear of his passing."
Loftus said Hess contributed substantially over the years to the St. Croix community.
"He built the current police station in Golden Grove, he gave us $10 million for the vocational school, and gave us $6 million after Marilyn, just to name a few things," he said.
Hess was the chairman and CEO of Amerada Hess until 1995. Forbes magazine reported his net worth at $720 million, according to the Associated Press.
Hess died as a result of complications from a blood disease, AP reported.

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