June 29, 2001 – Gaston Lionel "Nell" Richardson died the evening of Saturday, June 23, at St. Thomas Hospital. He was 85.
The patriarch of the Richardson clan on St. Thomas, he was born in New York City on Nov. 28, 1915, to Constant and Eunice Richardson. He attended school in French St. Martin and completed his schooling through adult education classes on St. Thomas.
He married Josephine Marie Mingo in 1934, and they became the parents of 10 children. He served in the U.S. Army in 1945, stationed in Puerto Rico. When he returned to civilian life, the couple and their first five children moved to the Virgin Islands. He worked for the Rockefellers at Caneel Bay Plantation on St. John, then later was employed by Cable and Wireless, often traveling to other Caribbean islands to install communication towers.
A master carpenter as well, Richardson refurbished many stores on Main Street, including those of Little Switzerland, the old Place Vandome and H. Stern Jewellers. He was also a musician, sailor, boat builder, fisherman, contractor and gardener. He built a sailboat from scratch at "Punto," or Ballast Island, a no-longer-extant outcropping between the old Antilles Airboats ramp, Hassel Island and the former Avery's Boathouse docks, and named it The Veteran. It was one of the vessels which pioneered the territory's yacht chartering industry, and its familiar blue sails were recognized throughout the bays and ports of St. Thomas, St. John and Tortola.
"Throughout the years," Richardson's son Henry said, he "never missed a good get-together. He was the life of the party, especially on the dance floor."
On Friday, Gov. Charles W. Turnbull issued a statement of condolence, saying that Richardson's family "can take great satisfaction in the knowledge that his life's work and efforts have not been in vain and that many of his children and grandchildren have made and continue to make solid contributions to the development of the territory."
Nine years ago, after Richardson suffered two major strokes, his family and friends aided in his therapy. During his last days he suffered a third stoke and was hospitalized for several weeks.
Viewing will be from 8 to 9 a.m. Monday, July 2, at John Thomas Funeral Home, with the funeral following at 10 a.m. in St. Ann's Chapel in Frenchtown.


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