Pat Henry Remembered as Tourism Leader

Sept. 15, 2008 — Working in the general manager's office down the hall behind the reception desk at Divi Carina Bay Resort on St. Croix, Richard "Pat" Henry always had ideas.
He had thoughts about how new casinos on the island would affect Divi and the work force of St. Croix. He had ideas about how more cruise ships would affect St. Croix. He had ideas about how alternative energy could play a role in the future of the Virgin Islands. He always backed his ideas up with facts and the energy of a thoughtful person.
He was the driving force behind the new mini-golf course, pizza parlor and 50 new rooms at Divi.
It hit many people hard to see the energy and the man die Friday in Florida at 59. Friends reported that cancer turned a battle with pneumonia unbeatable.
"He took the St. Croix chapter of the Hotel and Tourism Association to the successful entity it is today," said Omer ErSelcuk, president and CEO of Seaborne Airlines. "Henry came to St. Croix and didn't take — he gave and left it better than when he came. He left a great legacy, and I will miss him."
His energy brought Henry to the presidency of St. Croix Hotel and Tourism Association and earned him a spot on the government's Tourism Advisory Council.
"Pat had an infectious personality and zest for life," said Lisa Hamilton, president of the Hotel & Tourism Association. "He was a devoted family man and dedicated hospitality professional with a great love for the Virgin Islands community. The board of directors and the entire membership offer our sympathy and prayers to his wife, Ellen, and their three children."
Richard Doumeng, chairman of the association's board, remembered Henry as "simply a great guy."
"[He] loved what he did and where he did it, and he let everyone know," Doumeng said. "His deep feelings for St. Croix and the entire USVI community are not all that common from people who have been sent here for a job. When he spoke of St. Croix, his passion made it sound like he'd lived here forever. Professionally, he has been a very important partner in the movement to bring the hotel and tourism industry on all islands together. He truly believed that we are better and stronger together than we will ever be apart. We will really miss him."
Gov. John deJongh Jr. said Monday he was saddened at news of Henry's death.
"During his four years at Divi Carina, Pat Henry became a well-known figure in the tourism and hospitality industry," deJongh said, according to a new release. "I thank him for his leadership with the association and the council, and for his willingness to serve on several community organizations."
The governor described Henry as a pace setter in the unification of both territorial hotel associations and said he was an avid support of the Tourism Department.
Henry was a mover and shaker, said fellow hotelier Earl Powell, general manger at the King Christian Hotel.
"He was a cheerful fellow, always happy to give and help," Powell said.
Divi's assistant general manager, Kevin Jackson, said "Pat was more like a friend than a boss."
"This is a major loss and void on the property," Jackson said.
In addition to serving four years as general manager of the resort, Henry also served as president of the St. Croix Hotel and Tourism Association and a member of the governor's Tourism Advisory Council, the Rotary Club-Mid Isle and American Legion Post 102.
Sweeny Toussaint, Rotary member and St. Croix Safari Tours operator, said he met Henry four years ago, shortly after Henry came to St. Croix from Minnesota.
"I got to know him through Rotary, where he helped the club and the community," Toussaint said. "He was the consummate hotelier. This is a loss of the best hotelier on St. Croix."
He leaves behind his wife, Ellen; three children: Christopher, Benjamin and Tara; one grandchild, Lily; and numerous relatives and friends on the mainland as well as in the territory. The family requests that no flowers be sent, but created a website to receive condolences at
Memorial Services are currently being arranged and will be announced soon. For more information, call Kevin N. Jackson at 773-9700, ext. 712.
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