Water Island: Archives

Subject: Walter Phillips

On a sad note, long time patriarch of Water Island, Walter Phillips died yesterday while swimming on Honeymoon Beach.  Known as the father of Water Island, Walter Phillips was 97 years old. 

In the early 1950’s Walter leased the entire uninhabited Water Island from the Dept. of Interior.  He had to promise to lay the groundwork for the island to become a community.  Walter and his charming wife, Floride, worked side by side and developed a thriving hotel, which attracted visitors and allowed for a continuous development of the beach, infrastructure, roads and facilities.  Visitors became residents, the hotel grew and eventually a solid, though small, community of permanent residents moved to that island.  At Age 97, Walter Phillips had lived to see the reality of his dream.  The uninhabited island grew into a permanent community.  At the Transfer Day Ceremony Walter was honored as the oldest resident amid some 100 permanent residents now living on that islands. He received the first Virgin Islands Flag ever flown over Water Island.  

Ironically, he also lived to see the birth of the first baby on Water Island in the modern era, and his death came five days after that birth.  Walter was a life time devotee to healthy living, mega doses of vitamins and swimming every day – no matter what.  He died while swimming at Honeymoon Beach, a beach he had made, and along which he had planted all the palms and built the original beach buildings. Walter is remembered as a man of tremendous personal ability, and flowing warm hospitality. Walter Phillips is dead at Age 97.

(from USVI.NET website, Goodnews archives March 26, 1997)