On Saturday 26 October, the New Life Baptist Church at Duffs Bottom, Tortola, held a Thanksgiving Service in remembrance of the life of Lillian Arosa Romney (1938-2017), former First Lady of the British Virgin Islands. Bishop John Cline presided over the Service and Communications & Works Minister Hon. Mark Vanterpool delivered the eulogy. A cross-section of the community attended in large numbers from Anegada to Jost Van Dyke and attendees included relatives and friends from the Caribbean and the United States as well as elected members of the House of Assembly.
In a printed message, BVI Premier Dr. The Honourable D. Orlando Smith stated that “Lily” Romney was prominent among the pioneering female entrepreneurs of the Territory: “In true BV Islander spirit, not only did she understand the value of small businesses to the growth of our economy, but she also understood the importance of diversified businesses.” Dr. Smith described her as a “visionary business woman” who played a key role within the Romney Group of Companies.
Deputy Premier, Dr. The Honourable Kedrick Pickering noted that he “had the fondest regards for her with the greatest respect and admiration. She suffered quietly and gracefully. She lived and died with dignity. She left a lasting legacy for her children.”
Third District Elected Representative, Hon. Julian Fraser, RA, in his printed tribute to the former First Lady noted that “Mrs. Romney was a pillar in his district…Lily has been a family woman, a superb First Lady, and a consummate business woman.”
Hon. Mark Vanterpool pointed out that “even in difficult and stressful times she displayed a calm, ladylike demeanor that soothed everyone’s spirit…I also admired her as wife of the late legendary C. B. Romney, businessman extraordinaire and former Chief Minister of the Virgin Islands. They raised a wonderful family of five girls who, no doubt, will carry on the hospitality they are well known for and the keen business acumen learnt from their mom and dad.”
In a printed tribute Tafari Zharr explained that “Lily was magnetic to be around as much as she was magnificent in her art of diplomacy, and her love for artistry…She was always dashing, yet had a step in her glide throughout the community.”
Lily was also a community minded person having served in many groups and organizations.
Musical tributes were delivered by the Creque Siblings and Dianna Wattley; the interment took place at the Romney Family Cemetery, West End, Tortola.
The Great Lady is survived by five daughters: Debra P. Romney-Hodge, JoAnn R. Romney, Linda M. Romney, Marian C. Romney, and Patricia M. Romney; siblings: Adeline Leonard, Audrey Todman, Florence Amaro, Ivy Vessup, Egbert Creque Sr, Milton Creque, Annetta Amaro, Gene Creque; eleven grand-children; five great-grand-children; and many relatives and special friends too numerous to mention.
The publishers, management and staff of The Island Sun newspaper extend their deeply felt sympathies to the Romney Family.