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St. John Loses Youth Advocate, Solar Enthusiast

Jan. 17, 2005 –– Kenneth Damon died Monday at his home in Estate Carolina, St. John, after a brief illness. He was 80.
Damon was appointed in September 2004 to a two-year term on the V.I. Waste Management Authority. Additionally, he served on the Anti-litter and Beautification Commission from 1992 to 1997, was a past president of the Environmental Association of St. Thomas/St. John, and was one of nine founding members of St. John's Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.
"He was really very excited about his work," Sylvia Weaver, his wife of 29 years, said.
Damon will also be remembered for working hard to get the Golden Goat off the ground, a recycling project that did not make it. The machine accepted aluminum cans in exchange for cash.
"The government would never accept it," St. John resident and recycling activist Norm Gledhill said.
Long-time friend Sen. Craig Barshinger said that Damon was a tireless supporter of community activities.
"He was intellectually sharp, gregarious and very caring of other people," he said.
Barshinger, who attends the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, said that Damon embodied the Unitarian ideals of service.
Damon and Weaver moved to St. John in 1976. They designed and built an off-the-grid house in Estate Carolina. It continues to operate on solar and with composting toilets.
"He was a solar evangelist," St. John electrician Chris Clark said.
He and Damon sang together for many years in the St. John Singers. Clark said Damon had a "fantastic tenor voice."
Damon, Clark and a handful of others put together a barbershop quartet that sang at Damon's 80th birthday party on April 24, 2004 at Chloe and Bernard's Restaurant.
Damon also used his motor yacht as the press boat for many Coral Bay Thanksgiving Regattas and was on the St. John Kids and the Sea board of directors.
"He introduced the racing rules of sailing," KATS organizer Robin Clair said.
She this made racing safer and fairer.
She and Coral Bay sailor Thatcher Lord recalled that when the KATS program first had Lasers, Damon used to go out and race.
"He was good fun. We had a ball," Lord said.
Estate Carolina neighbor Trish Capuano said Damon was always willing to help. She said he was active in the homeowner's association.
"He was an integral part of the road committee with his engineering skills," she said.
Weaver said Damon loved St. John.
"I hope they remember his energy and his concern for the island," Weaver said.
She said that Damon was born in Jamaica, Vermont. He graduated from St. Lawrence University with a bachelor's degree in physics and worked as an engineering physicist. She said a lot of his work had to do with space projects.
He served aboard the U.S. Navy's PT boats during World War II
In addition to Weaver, Damon is survived by his daughter Phoebe Damon of Chicago and two sons, Jim Damon of Wilton, Conn. and Alex Damon of Cordell, Okla. He also has four grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. Jan. 29 at the St. John School on Gifft Hill.
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