Sir Clive E.C. Banfield, 88, of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, a much loved and well respected “citizen of the world,” passed away on Dec. 26, 2021.
Clive was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad, in 1933 and was awarded government scholarships to attend high school and St. Mary’s College of the Immaculate Conception as a young man. Upon graduation, he spent six months in a Benedictine monastery under a vow of silence in preparation for priesthood before changing paths and accepting a government position at the Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission. During this time, Clive became involved in many social organizations and was invited to be in Geoffrey Holder’s Dance Group; his first visit to St. Thomas was in 1952 as the dance group was invited to perform at the first St. Thomas Carnival to be held since the end of World War II.
In 1955, Clive married Helen Hay of St. Thomas in New York where she was studying hospital administration at Columbia University. When the couple moved back to the Virgin Islands, Clive accepted a position under acting governor Louis B. Shulterbrandt, whose business consultancy represented British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC), thus beginning a long career in the airline industry. In 1964, Clive became the assistant to CARIBAIRʻs president Dionisio Trigo in Puerto Rico, and after a merger between CARIBAIR and Eastern Airlines in 1970, he became Caribbean sales manager for Delta Airlines. Clive worked for Delta for the next 25 years in the legal department on route expansion throughout the Caribbean region. In 1991, Clive was praised in an address to the U.S. Congress by Representative Ron de Lugo for his accomplishments in expanding the tourism industry in the Caribbean.
In 1992, on a cruise to the North Pole, Helen passed away to the great sorrow of Clive and the St. Thomas community whom she had served for so many years. After much mourning, Clive met his second wife Lise Cole of St. Thomas. They married in 1993 and raised their daughter, Zoë Doreen Banfield, on St. Thomas.
In 1995, Clive retired from the airline industry and maintained a busy life full of travel and civic engagement. In the 1960’s, he founded the Virgin Islands Chamber of Commerce, served on the board of the University of the Virgin Islands, and founded a scholarship program for students from newly independent nations in West Africa. In 2004, he became Sir Clive E.C. Banfield when he was invested into the Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Knights Hospitaller, for service to the Caribbean community. He traveled voraciously, most often by cruise ship in his later years, and by 2005 he had visited 203 countries on every continent. He continued to cruise until 2020 and maintained correspondence from “Cliveden 1811” with his many friends and correspondents until the end of his life.
He is survived by his wife Lise; his daughter Zoë; nieces, Yvonne Jamieson of New York and Natasha Questel and her son Dylan of Vancouver, B.C., ; cousins, Lynette Morong and family of Ft. Lauderdale, Claudette Chariandy of Ontario, Glenford Peters of Ontario, Monica Bradshaw of Trinidad, Dilsa Capdeville and family of St. Thomas, Cynthia Christensen of St. Thomas; and close friends Michele, Elizabeth, Zachary and Ian Agurkis Shulterbrandt, Doris, Pat, Terry and Michael Todman, Katina Coulianos and family, Nick and Karen Pourzal, Louis DeLyrot, Roy and Barbara Schneider, Ron and Angela Belfon, Janet Pulis and Adriana Cortina of San Juan, Nora Weaver of San Miguel de Allende, and other extended family and friends too numerous to mention.
A memorial service will be held for him at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 22, at the St. Thomas Reformed Church for family and friends to celebrate and honor his life and legacy. For more information or if you would like to submit a brief written remembrance to be included in the service please email Zoë at firstname.lastname@example.org. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to My Brother’s Workshop, UVI’s Office of Institutional Advancement, or another Virgin Islands-based charitable organization of your choice. The service will be livestreamed at www.strchurch.org.