April 11, 2005 – Peggy Blitz may just be the heartbeat of Caneel Bay Resort. As administrative assistant to manager Rik Blyth, she has her pulse on just about all the resort's activities.
"She's a great public face for the hotel," Blyth said.
He said that Blitz is extremely organized and handles contact with the public equally well.
For Blitz, the fact that every day is different keeps her interested.
"One minute I'm taking a VIP on a site inspection, the next I'm trying to run down a problem with somebody's plumbing," she said, stopping every few minutes to answer the phone.
Blitz, who turns 65 on April 12, moved to St. John in 1991 after throwing over a career in corporate travel for life in the tropics. She and her son, Jonathan, first visited St. John the year before as a guest of the Hyatt Regency St. John Hotel, which is now the Westin Resort and Villas.
"I fell in love with the island, and moved here lock, stock and barrel. I didn't know a soul," she said.
She said that before her trip to St. John, she spent a lot of time in Barbados with dreams of opening her own business.
Once on St. John, she worked in property management for a short time before starting her own property management company, Caribbean Dreams.
"I dutifully did a five-year plan, but left out things like hurricanes," she said, laughing.
When Hurricane Marilyn hit in 1995, she was out of business. Blitz said, like everyone else, she scrambled to make a living. She helped with rebuilding and worked at what was then Chase Bank until Caneel Bay called in 1999.
Blitz is now a moving force in organizing the Julius E. Sprauve School annual gala that raises money for the school. Former Caneel Bay manager Luis Argote started it, and Caneel Bay continues to support the event.
Born in Pittsburgh, Penn., Blitz moved around the East Coast and the Midwest as her father changed jobs.
After graduation from Ball State University in Indiana, with a bachelor's degree in business administration and speech therapy that included a minor in teaching mentally handicapped children, she embarked on a career as a speech therapist with those special children.
After 13 years at that career, a divorce and two children convinced her she needed to make more money.
"The kids were getting bigger but my paycheck wasn't," she said.
Blitz then launched her career in the hospitality industry as a sales representative for the five-star Whitehall Hotel in downtown Chicago. She moved from there to corporate travel, ending up as the president of a corporate travel management firm in Chicago.
By this time, her children had completed college and she decided to make the move to St. John.
Although Blitz is at the traditional retirement age, she has no plans to stop working. She said she enjoys her job, and stays active and busy with gardening and other hobbies. Jonathan and his wife, Shelley, as well as daughter Danny and granddaughter Sheridan, 5, visit often enough to maintain family ties.
"But from time to time, I've thought about moving back to the states, but I would be unhappy with the congestion, the traffic and the number of people," she said.
She said she's lived on St. John longer than she's lived anywhere else in her life.
"So this is really home," she said.
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