J.R. O’Neal departed
The BVI community mourns the passing,
earlier this week, of one of the Territory's stalwarts and a most outstanding
pioneering entrepreneur, Mr. Joseph Reynold O'Neal.
of the BVI, Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith said that Mr. J.R O'Neal "left an
indelible mark on the Territory, he was instrumental in the BVI's celebration of
Harbour Day. His name will live on, and we will remember him whenever we see his
name on the Botanical Gardens or on J.R O'Neal drug store". Dr. Smith also
mentioned that Mr. O'Neal was referred to every time there was a need to learn
about the history of the Virgin Islands.
Leader of the
Opposition Hon. Ralph T. O'Neal commented that "J.R O'Neal scored many firsts in
the BVI; it will take time to recall all of them. I remember him to be the first
to bring kerosene fridges to the BVI when there was no electricity. He could
have looked at a face and determine their surname and tell that person a little
about their parentage".
J.R O'Neal as
most people called him was born in 1911 and has led a rich and varied life
since. An entrepreneur who evolved into one of the titans of business leadership
in the Virgin Islands, Mr. O'Neal also found time to devote himself to political
and environmental affairs.
Mr. O'Neal has
won distinctions and several awards for his many years of community service and
for his leadership in the business arena. As Chairman of the National Parks
Trust for some thirty years, he
reforestation of Sage Mountain and Gorda Peak. In recognition of his work on
behalf of the Trust, the Botanic Gardens in Road Town were named in his honour
in 1998. In 1990, Mr. O'Neal was also named to the Global 500, a United Nations
Environmental Programme (UNEP) honour roll of people who have contributed to the
preservation of the environment around the world.
Mr. O'Neal was
awarded the C.B.E. (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) by Her Majesty
the Queen in 1998, following M.B.E and O.B.E. awards. In 2002, he was awarded
the Badge of Honour by the Government of the British Virgin Islands.
A date has not
been officially set for Mr. O'Neal's funeral but his son Rey O'Neal suggested
that it might be on Saturday 26 February..
© 2005 by SUN ENTERPRISES (B.V.I.) LTD.
PUBLISHERS OF THE ISLAND
SUN Newspaper. All rights reserved.