The family of Pedrito Augustus François is saddened to announce his passing on Monday, Aug. 17, 2020, at the age of 99.
Pedrito was born on ChinaMan Hill (Moravian Hill) on the western end of St. Thomas on April 15, 1921, the child of Conrad François and Eva Joseph François. He was a proud graduate of Charlotte Amalie High School, the valedictorian of the Class of 1939.
He attended Howard University, earning a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering in 1943 and a master of science in public health from the University of Minnesota in 1947. He had an impactful career in public service with the Virgin Islands government, retiring in 1984 from his last post, which was assistant commissioner of Public Works.
During his decades of service, his accomplishments included the conversion of the island of St. Thomas’ electric utility system from DC to AC current, the establishment of the territory’s comprehensive environmental sanitation program, and public health programs that led to the elimination of numerous tropical and other diseases that were endemic and a major cause of death. His career culminated with the design and construction of a wastewater treatment system for the territory. He was awarded the Environmental Protection Association Award in 1984 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Caribbean Water and Wastewater Association Gold Award in 2009 for his contributions to public health in the United States Virgin Islands and the Eastern Caribbean.
In his retirement one of his many pursuits included researching the history of his family in these islands since their arrival in the early 1800’s, and acting as a historical resource to visitors to the Caribbean Genealogy Library and friends and family throughout the islands and others on the mainland and in Denmark. He transitioned peacefully at his home on Crown Mountain on the land he explored as a child.
He was preceded in death by his father and mother, Conrad and Eva François; his wife, Gloria Kaufman François; daughter, Leslie Walker; and sons, Pedrito “Emmet” François, Conrad E. François II, and Gary François.
He was survived by his brother, Donald François, and sister-in-law Faye François. He is also survived by his son, Darryl François, and son-in-law, Dr. G. Dwight Walker, and daughters-in-law, Ellen François and Peggy Ashbrook.
He is also survived by grandchildren, Tracey Smith, Dwight A. Walker, Conrad E. François III, Eleanor François, Toni Glass, Pedrito E. François Jr., Kamoya François-Ashbrook, Asasi François-Ashbrook and Gloria Amadi François-Ashbrook; and great-grandsons, Jalen Jenkins, Dasan Walker, Khafri François, Kingston Walker, André Walker, and Malachi François-Ashbrook; and great-granddaughters, Kayla Smith, Kiera Smith, Kennedy Glass, Mackenzie Glass, and Eva Walker; and numerous aunts, nephews, and nieces, great-nephews and nieces, cousins and other relatives of the François and Joseph families of St. Thomas, and the Kaufman family of New Orleans, La.
Burial blessing and prayers will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, Aug. 24, at Western Cemetery No. 1 with interment to follow. Because of the coronavirus pandemic restrictions, attendance will be limited to family. We thank you for your understanding.
Funeral arrangements are by Turnbull’s Funeral Home and Crematory Services.