Nov. 1, 2002 – Philip J. Rhymer Sr., who helped revive the Traditional Indians troupe when St. Thomas's modern-day V.I. Carnival began in 1952, died Oct. 23 at the Sea View Nursing and Rehabilitation Facility.
"Since the revival of carnival and for almost 50 years, Mr. Rhymer, along with his wife, the late Frances Rhymer, led the Traditional Indians through many years of carnival fun," Gov. Charles W. Turnbull said in statement of condolences. The governor also said that Rhymer created The Masqueraders as a segment of a 1927 carnival parade.
According to information provided by Davis Funeral Home on St. Thomas, Rhymer supplied the troupe with uniforms and drums. Despite being confined to a wheelchair, he was an active member of the Indians until his death.
Rhymer was born Oct. 22, 1908, on St. Thomas, the son of Ebenezer Rhymer and Eulalie Emanuel. He was affectionately known as "Tata" or Mr. Francis. He grew up in Savan and attended St. Ann's Roman Catholic School, now known as Sts. Peter and Paul School.
An active sportsman, he managed the Orioles baseball team, the Silver Dollar Little League team, and the 1956 champions, the Savan Hawks. He played with several teams and was best known for being a good catcher and relief pitcher.
Rhymer worked at Government House as a repairman, painter, mason and orderly. He served in the Home Guard, now known as the V.I. National Guard, from 1942 to 1972.
He is survived by sons Philip Rhymer Jr., James Rhymer Sr. and Calito Rhymer Sr.; daughters Myra Nixon and Shirley Olive; stepson Richard Callwood Jr.; 55 grandchildren and 47 great-grandchildren.
Burial was Thursday in Western Cemetery.
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