Nov. 28, 2005 Former West Indian Co. president Hans Frederick Jahn died Thursday in Horsens, Denmark. Jahn, a Denmark native, was 78.
WICO president Edward Thomas said that Jahn was president of the company for more than 25 years. He served from 1967 to 1970 and from 1981 to 1994.
Thomas said that after the local government bought the company in 1993, Jahn continued on as president for another year. Thomas replaced him.
"Mr. Jahn's visionary leadership resulted in the growth and development of WICO into one of the region's leading corporate entities and the evolution of the facilities owned by WICO into a very successful business venture," Thomas said.
He said that Jahn was firm in his belief that if the Danish-owned WICO was going to sell the company, it should be to the Virgin Islands people. Thomas said that this led to the sale to the V.I. government.
Gov. Charles Turnbull, who is a member of the WICO governing board, said Jahn left the territory with a very successful operation. He said this was testimony to his confidence in the people of the Virgin Islands to manage their own business affairs.
Thomas said that when he took over as president, Jahn took him on a swing through Miami, Seattle, Vancouver, and Los Angeles to introduce him to cruise ship company officials. He said this enabled him to form his own relationships with the companies.
He said that Jahn also introduced him to a fine wine called Jordan Merlot.
"He liked a glass of Jordan wine," he said.
He said Jahn had a good sense of humor.
Jahn started his career at age 16 as a trainee for the East Asiatic Co. After serving as a first lieutenant with the Danish Royal Life Guard, Jahn returned to the East Asiatic Co. During his career with that company and WICO, his travels took him to the Far East as well as the Virgin Islands.
Toad and Tart owner Anna Clarke was his secretary for many years.
"He was an absolute gentleman. He was an extremely kind man," she said.
She said that Jahn had recently been back to visit the Virgin Islands with his family.
Danish consul Soren Blak said that Jahn was one of the most dynamic people he ever met.
"Whatever he did, he did 110 percent. No shortcuts," Blak said.
He said that someone asked Jahn to do something, he always complied.
Hahn is survived by his wife, Annie, and sons Peter, Thomas and Kasper as well as daughter, Vibeke. He is also survived by grandchildren Jesper, Nina, Frederik, Emil, and Anni Jahn and good friend, Bente Hansen.
Services will be held Wednesday at Horsens Klosterkirk
Thomas said he wanted to attend the service, but it was not possible to get to Horsens in time for the funeral.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Danish Cemetery Restoration Fund operated by the Royal Danish Consulate, P.O. Box 187, St. Thomas, VI 00804.
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