74.9 F
Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, March 26, 2023


Feb. 29, 2004 — Calvin H. Wheatley, who, for 18 years until his retirement just over a year ago, handled both public relations and regulatory matters for the West Indian Co. Ltd., died Sunday at the Roy L. Schneider Hospital. He had celebrated his 80th birthday on Jan. 14.
Wheatley played a key role in the negotiations between WICO's previous Danish owners and the V.I. government in the sale of the company in 1993.
When he retired in December 2002, Edward E. Thomas Sr., WICO president, said, "Mr. Wheatley has had a long and distinguished career with WICO from the days of its Danish ownership and served then also as the company's public relations officer."
On Sunday night Thomas, referring to Wheatley as his "mentor," said, "He truly kept me on the right path."
Thomas said with his knowledge of protocol and governmental issues, Wheatley was invaluable to him personally as well as to the company and community he served. And, Thomas said, "He wasn't selfish; he passed it on to me."
After announcing to WICO officials in March of 2002 that he intended to retire at the end of the year, he had second thoughts as the day drew closer. On the day of his retirement party, Wheatley told his co-workers, "You know, I'm not ready to go. I'm happy here."
Thomas confirmed that sentiment Sunday night. "He loved the work so much," Thomas said. "He never really enjoyed retirement."
Thomas recalled traveling throughout the Caribbean with Wheatley, singing the praises of what Thomas called "the number one destination" – St. Thomas. He said Wheatley "single-handedly put together the FCCA (Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association) conference" that was held in St. Thomas in 1996.
"He was our public relations man," Thomas said Sunday. "When he retired in 2002 we consciously did not fill that position out of respect for his work and service."
Even after retirement, Thomas said, "it always pleased him to see the mega-ships" tied up at the WICO dock.
In negotiations, Thomas said, Wheatley "had a way of raising his left hand indicating it was time to end the conversation."
Prior to the 1993 WICO purchase, Wheatley served on the company's board of directors.
In the mid '60s Wheatley, along with five other Virgin Islanders, founded the Virgin Islands Olympic Committee and, after a major lobbying effort to the International Olympic Committee, the Virgin Islands sent teams to the Central American and Caribbean Games in San Juan — and have ever since.
Although never involved in partisan politics, Wheatley served the V.I. government for many years as an administrative assistant in Government House during the tenures of Govs. Walter A. Gordon, Morris F. DeCastro, John David Merwin, Ralph M. Paiewonsky, Juan F. Luis and Alexander A. Farrelly.
His work in the private sector included the vice presidency and presidency of the People's Bank of the Virgin Islands. Wheatley also twice managed the Citibank St. Thomas branch.
Until shortly before his retirement, he served in a voluntary capacity as civilian aide to the Secretary of the Army.
Wheatley was chosen Rotary II of St. Thomas Person of the Year in 1985.
"We've lost a great warrior," Thomas said Sunday, and "the community has also lost a great man."
Wheatley had suffered from several illnesses since his retirement and had been in the hospital for 10 days when he died Sunday afternoon.
Wheatley is survived by his wife Marcia; four children by a previous marriage to Angel Wheatley: Luana Wheatley, Roxanne Wheatley, Clayton Wheatley and Maurice Wheatley; stepchildren: Beverly Wells-Harris and Marvin Wells. He is also survived by his brothers: Andres, Charles, Henry and Reuben Wheatley, and numerous nieces, nephews and grandchildren.
For viewing and funeral arrangements see the article in the Source Deaths section

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.

Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.