The service of thanksgiving held on 29 December in memory of the late Vincent Vernal Walwyn who departed this life on 18 December saw the Sea Cows Bay Methodist Church packed to capacity.
Many in the community gathered at the Church to pay respect to Mr. Walwyn who made the BVI his home decades ago, and consistently contributed to the community over the years.
Fondly known as Vern, Mr. Walwyn was born to Daisy Sutton and Norman Walwyn on the island of Nevis on 2 December 1950. He was the third of five children for his mother Daisy and the first of two children for his father Norman.
From a very early age, Vern showed a keen interest in the masonry and architectural fields. In fact, he received some formal training in the building industry in addition to the training he received on the job from the various contractors that he worked for in Nevis.
In the 1960s, Vern was among a group of young men and women who migrated from St Kitts/Nevis to Tortola; and in presenting his father’s eulogy, Minister for Education and Culture, Hon. Myron Walwyn explained that his father arrived in the Territory during the formative years.
“Over 50 years ago, our dad came to the BVI during his formative years and would be categorized in that group of men and women and assimilated with ease into the BVI community by helping and making their contributions to building this Territory,” Hon. Walwyn explained.
In his early days in the BVI Mr. Walwyn lived with fellow Nevisians, the late Wendell Ward and his brothers on Sugar Mill Road in Lower Estate in a home owned by the late Mr. Ernest “Crusher” Smith and the late Mrs. Zephera “Ms. Zephie” Smith.
“Unlike young men of his time who migrated to the BVI, and then learned a trade while here, Vern came to the BVI as a tradesman skilled in masonry. It was this skill that opened the door for his first employment opportunity with Mr. Robert “Bob” Gray, a Bermudian, who at that time was the BVI’s leading general contractor,” Hon. Walwyn explained.
On a visit to St Croix in the sixties, Vern met Pernella Baltimore, who he married in 1969. Their union produced three children Cecil, Carla, and Myron. Mrs. Walwyn relocated from St Croix to Tortola and in years to follow Mr. Walwyn moved his family from Free Bottom to Sea Cows Bay where he had purchased property.
The Walwyn family later grew to include sons Michael and Loren. In his special remembrance of his father, Hon. Walwyn noted: “My dad also believed in working hard for what he wanted and encouraged us to do the same. He didn’t appreciate laziness around him at all.”
Over the years Vern’s masonry skills were utilized in the construction of key projects such as the Prospect Reef Apartments in January 1968, and the reconstruction of the Treasure Isle Hotel and the Treasure Isle Hotel Condominiums in the 1970s; among others.
The affable and highly respected Mr. Walwyn took a leap of faith to launch out on his own and established Walwyn’s Corporation Ltd in the 1970s. Over the years he employed and taught many persons the construction trade; and was also the main contractor for a number of villas and residential homes throughout the Territory.
The late Vincent Vernal Walwyn is survived by his: Children – Cecil Walwyn, Carla Walwyn, Michael Walwyn, Loren Walwyn; and Hon. Myron Walwyn; Daughters-in-Law – Judith “Sherry” Walwyn, and Laura Judith Walwyn; Grandchildren — Jackeem Williams, Myron Walwyn Jr., Jamaree Williams, Jada Williams, Mya Walwyn, Myka Walwyn, Kyron Walwyn, and J’Mia Walwyn; Adopted Grandchildren – Brandon James, Adrian James; Brother – Leslie Walwyn; Nieces – Dawn Hobson, Diane Hobson, Sharon Hobson, and Andrea Hobson-Henry; Nephew –Mitchelle Hobson; and many other relatives and friends too numerous to mention.
The publishers, management and staff of The Island Sun newspaper express deeply felt condolences to the family and friends of the late Vincent Vernal Walwyn.