A farewell service fittingly reflecting the life of well-known business man Alvin Robert Pickering who was familiar to many by his nickname “Big Brother” was held on 22 June at the St. George’s Episcopal Anglican church.
Mr. Pickering was born on 30 September 1937 and departed this life on 22 May 2019. He was the youngest of eight children born to the late Ernest Conrad Pickering and Floresa Albertha Brewley.
He attended the school of Ms. Alexandrina Maduro situated in her home in those days and then went on to complete secondary school studies. As a boy Alvin dabbled in engine repair under the guidance of his older brother Lenny.
He learned to weld and then perfected his welding skills with practice and minimal formal training. He also learned mechanics and the operation of heavy equipment from several individuals.
Alvin was naturally gifted with an analytical mind that excelled at problem solving. His natural ability to fix things a lot of which was self-taught, later earned him the name “MacGuyver.”
The Pickering family was the first to provide ferry services between the British and US Virgin Islands and Alvin was instrumental in fixing and maintaining the engines to keep the boats running. These boats the Lady P, the Neptune, Joan of Arc, and the Empress were the foundation of the Pickering and Sons family business to which Alvin was deeply dedicated.
At times he worked day and night along with his brothers Lenny and Henry to ensure that the boats were kept on schedule.
Mr. Pickering started several businesses through Pickering and Sons which he eventually expanded into his own. There was Pickering Garage and Gas Station adjacent to his parent’s home in Baughers Bay. He also started Alvin Pickering Heavy Equipment Rental which employed and trained several individuals who now have businesses today.
It was mentioned that while traveling between the US and BVI on the family vessels, a young Enid Walters from The Valley, Virgin Gorda caught his eye. They married on 26 June 1963 and their union produced three children Robert, Dacia, and Shalina. Alvin also had a daughter from a previous relationship
His wife Enid was said to have her own natural gift of preparing savory meals and was instrumental in the tremendous growth and success of Beach Club Terrace over the years. This success of the business allowed Alvin to expand further and open Big Brother’ Service Station as well Alvin Pickering Warehouses all located in Baughers Bay.
Alvin would go on to invest into several other small businesses. He believed in diversifying his investments and was an advocate for investing locally, which he did in such ventures as Air BVI, Ocean Conversion and CCT.
As an add-on to his heavy equipment rental, he expanded into blasting and was the first local person to do so. Once the heavy equipment market became saturated, he phased this part out and concentrated on the blasting which he personally perfected and had the monopoly over the years.
He was known for his ability to break up massive boulders using explosives that couldn’t be removed by conventional methods. He learned the nuances of soaking the explosive powder in gasoline, and to blast the rocks without damaging surrounding structures. He would brag that “Faith can move mountains and cast them in the midst of the sea. I can also move mountains and carry them into the sea … with a few sticks of dynamite.”
After years of perfecting his craft in the blasting arena, Big Brother became so good at it that he claimed he could break any sized rock under a person’s bed while sleeping without waking them.
Alvin was active in the Rotary Club of Tortola and The Excelsior Club with other prominent community members who have directly and indirectly impacted so many members of the BVI community. As a dedicated Rotarian he received several certificates for perfect attendance, was ever present on their festive floats and was a willing participant in the Annual Rotary Christmas Pageant held many years ago.
He was a social butterfly and loved to entertain, always telling stories and jokes, Alvin loved to laugh and had no problem laughing at himself.
He was a world traveler and loved meeting new people and experiencing different cultures. His attendants at many Rotary International Conventions over the years provided him the opportunity to see the world. He loved meeting new people and experiencing different cultures. He also traveled visiting friends and family. He always had the desire to visit Cuba and his daughters made this a reality on 20 February 2018.
Big Brother’s altruistic nature led him to donate over 100 pints of blood in his lifetime. He was a lifelong member of the Road Town Anglican Church and attended church faithfully every Sunday. He happily contributed to the renovation of the said church and the building of the associated school.
The late Alvin Robert Pickering is survives by his: Wife Enid Pickering, Son – Robert “Bob” Pickering, Daughters – Pauline Pickering-Wade, Dacia Pickering, Shalina Pickering, Brother – Henry Pickering, Sisters – Bernice Freeman, and Elma Blyden, Grandsons – Akeem Pickering, Reon Pickering, Marcus Wade, Brendon Pickering, and Dash Pickering, Granddaughters – Brittney Wade, and Sevyn Pickering, Great Granddaughters – Arabel Pickering, Ariyel Pickering, and Arella Pickering, Great Grandson – David Pickering, Sister-in-Law Lydia Pickering, Son-in-Law – Mark Wade, Daughter-in-Law – Jasmine Pickering; and many other relatives and friends too numerous to mention.
The publishers, management and staff of The Island Sun newspaper extend heartfelt condolences to the relatives and friends of the late Alvin Robert Pickering.