Family and friends are advised of the passing of Mr. Kenneth De Graff Niles. He transitioned from this life on Oct. 27, 2020, at 91 years of age, in Maryland. He was blessed to have shared this journey of life with so many. His warmth, charm, candidness, perseverance and intellect were a true testament of his character.
He would at times give accounts of travels abroad in the1950s and having served in Germany, France and Korea. Mr. Kenneth Niles was among few remaining veterans who served during that era and he could still give impeccable accounts of those times. In the 1960s, he served as chauffeur for former Senate President Earle B. Ottley of the Legislature of the Virgin Islands. Often, he reflected on Senate and political savviness of those of days.
His entrepreneurial ventures began as taxi driver and later as a V.I. lottery dealer for several decades. Affectionately, he was known as the "ticket man" as he sold major prizes throughout the years. He was a V.I. lottery dealer up until his illness in 2019. He also enjoyed talking about politics and was always current on local and world events, politics and pretty much anything under the sun.
An avid reader and orator, he enjoyed reading and treasured books. A proud native Virgin Islander, his acute recollection of life “back in the day” and current dynamics in the U.S. Virgin Islands was a valued treasure he shared.
He cherished his life in the beautiful islands and often reflected on past times when St. Thomas was clean, the food homegrown, people lived like family, and the elders were revered.
"Respected are the old and nurtured are the young. Those were the days", he would say.
In earlier times, he enjoyed fine dining of lobster and steaks at his favorite restaurants: L'escagot, Sebastian's on the Waterfront, and in more recent years Petite Pump Room, RLS Cafeteria. And he loved a dish of boiled fish and fungi at Arians Bar and Restaurant and Gladys Cafe.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Wilhelmina Brathwaite Niles and Arthur B Niles;
Siblings, Wilmer, Novaldo, Iris, Vadis Niles Thompson and Moira Niles Roberts, Magedeline Niles O’neal; brothers-in-law, Lyle Roberts, Pedrito Blyden, R. Thompson Sr., Kenneth Oneal; sister-in-law, Jean Niles; nephews/nieces, Martin Roberts, Navaldo “Rico” and Jeannette Niles; and special aunt, Mavis Turnbull.
Of many family and friends, he was survived by his children, Kenneth Niles Jr., Laverne, Laura and Kevin Niles; grandchildren, Jessica and Kimberly Niles, Kenneth Niles III, Christal-Holliday Firmin, Candace Holliday and Selena and Brianna Niles; great-grandchildren, Kiyra Mendez and Austen Firmin; siblings, Enid Blyden, Arthur, Dougal and Navarro Niles and Gertrude Niles Swan; sisters-in-law, Felicia Desuitt Niles, Laraine Niles and Edit Estrill; brothers-in-law: Cele Ross, Justice Ive Swan, Cyril, Pedrito and Alphonse Estrill; nieces/nephews, Jackie Simpson, Patsy Stevens, Denise, Richard, Michael, Sandra and Dale Niles, Arturo Niles, Deborah Niles Harrigan, Bridgette Conow, Anthony Niles, Rudolph and Roy Thompson, Clarissa Niles Thompson, Celeste “CeCe Ross,” Lisa Singh Testamark, Derrick O’neal, Maria, Marcia and Kenny O’neal, Gretchen, Robbie, Quammie, John Roberts, Kimberly, Jay, Annya Robinson and Annuncia Roberts Fleming, former Attorney General Kerry Drue and Kenny Drue, Cedelle Niles, Ph.D., and Denelle Niles Brown; and special niece, Lynelle Niles.
He was married to Marjorie Estrill Niles and extended family members include the Thomas, Brathwaite, Smith, DeGraff, Clendinin and Estrill families, fellow veterans, the V.I. Lottery family, the Legislature of the Virgin Islands, the Office of Veterans Affairs, loyal customers, and other relatives and friends too numerous to mention.
Showers of appreciation and halos to Dr. Watson, Dr. Roy Schneider and all his caregivers and staff of Schneider Regional Medical Hospital.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a private military ceremony was held at Quantico National Cemetery in Virginia on Nov.17 where he was laid to rest.