INTERNET MAVEN PETER J. DE BLANC DIES

July 1, 2002 – Peter J. de Blanc, 57, of St. Thomas, died June 26 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., after a battle with cancer. Born in New York City on Nov. 17, 1944, de Blanc grew up in Niagara Falls, N.Y., attended Dwight School in New York City, McGill University in Montreal and the ITU in Geneva, Switzerland. For 30 years he studied with the ARICA School founded by Oscar Ichazo, philosopher and mystic.
The president of COBEX International Inc., de Blanc was responsible for the introduction of the Internet to the U.S. Virgin Islands. In September 1994 he introduced free public Internet access via VIP FreeNet, of which he was president. In 1995 he introduced the first commercial Internet service in the Virgin Islands, developing the first web pages for the promotion of tourism in the territory.
Employed by IBM Research and Development Labs in East Fishkill, N.Y., in the late 1960s, de Blanc was an acknowledged technical genius. For the more than 25 years that he lived in the Caribbean he worked as a computer and communications consultant. He was named a senior member of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers in 1973, becoming the youngest person ever elevated to senior status.
For several years in the mid-'80s he was a communications and microcomputer consultant to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization in the Eastern Caribbean. In 1998-99 he taught computer networking at the University of the Virgin Islands. He held Federal Communications Commission commercial (radiotelephone) and amateur extra (WA2AAX) radio Licenses.
In the past few years de Blanc had been widely involved in Internet-related activities. He chaired the Administrative Committee of the TLD Country Code Top Level Domain constituency of 244 countries and was elected North American representative to the Board of the Domain Name Supporting Organization of ICANN (the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers), in both capacities shaping global internal policy and Internet governance.
His strong personal commitment to the advancement of developing countries through technological awareness and development was evidenced by many Internet-related speaking and consulting engagements in the United States, Canada, China, Egypt, Thailand and Africa.
An active Rotarian, de Blanc was president-elect of Rotary Club of St. Thomas II and had previously served as sergeant at arms and a board member. Through his involvement with Rotary, de Blanc was a founder of the KATS (Kids and the Sea) Program, which has been instrumental in teaching seamanship skills to children throughout the Caribbean.
A passionate musician, he played pop and classical music on baroque English recorder at any opportunity.
He is survived by his wife, Doris Sparks de Blanc; four children, Peter Dimitri de Blanc of Philadelphia, Annalisa Roger of San Anselmo, Calif., Andrea Kimmey of Taos, N. M., and Alexis St. John-Gillott of Seminole, Fla.; eight grandchildren, Molly and Peter A. de Blanc, Jessica and Lydia Kimmey, and Alisha, Anna, Peter and Stephen Roger; two brothers, Roger and James de Blanc; a sister, Arlene de Blanc; an aunt, Catherine Chesnea of Norwalk, Conn.; his mother-in-law, Doris Huff Sparks of Macon, Ga.; and countless friends and students whom he mentored and inspired.
According to his wishes, a celebration of life will be scheduled at Magens Bay at a date and time to be announced.

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