The territory lost one of its native sons on Sunday when Kendall Petersen Sr. – also known as “Seigo” – died after a long illness, Fiona Stokes reports for The Virgin Islands Daily News.
His cousin, Emile Henderson III, described Petersen as someone who dearly loved the Virgin Islands.
“Seigo was the epitome of what you would consider a son of the soil and a true Virgin Islander,” Henderson said. “He exhibited true strength and pride to be a Virgin Islander that many are lacking today.”
Petersen was from St. Croix, but he looked out for and defended the entire territory and left an example and a legacy behind that many other Virgin Islanders should aspire to do, he said.
Petersen also was a committed family man and an awesome father, Henderson said.
“He loved his family dearly, and regardless of the number of children he had or his circumstances, he was there for all of them all the time,” he said.
Petersen also was a father-figure to many of the young people, specifically the young men in Frederiksted, who needed a role model, Henderson said. He was a mentor to them and got many of them involved in farming and prompted them to develop a community garden at the top of King Street in Frederiksted that has been yielding a number of crops that they use to barter with other farmers.
“He loved those youth and he loved his family dearly and defended them fiercely,” Henderson said. “But his essence will live on.”
Social media in the territory was abuzz Sunday within hours of Petersen’s death, as many of his friends used social networking to share their grief at Petersen’s passing.
Many described him as a true lion, a man of integrity and a pillar of the community who will be greatly missed.
Petersen was a dedicated farmer, and he organized St. Croix Farmers in Action with Percival Edwards in the mid 1990s in hopes of promoting farming in the territory and getting young people interested and involved.
He was an agriculture teacher at the St. Croix Vocational School and shared his knowledge of the soil and agricultural sustainability with the young people with whom he came into contact.
Petersen was a devoted community activist, who made his position known on issues pertaining to election reform, crime, land use and beach access. He also was a member of the African-Caribbean Reparations and Resettlement Alliance and had demonstrated for reparation from Denmark for people of the territory.
Petersen made an unsuccessful bid for the Senate in 2010 as an ICM candidate, and he was elected as a delegate to the Fifth Constitutional Convention.
He is survived by his wife, Yvette Petersen, his children and his mother, Clarissa Messer-Petersen.
For the original report go to http://virginislandsdailynews.com/news/st-croix-native-kendall-petersen-sr-dies-1.1789584