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Mel Plaskett, 59, Has Died After Lengthy Illness

Oct. 31, 2004 – Businessman, journalist, promoter and politician Mel Plaskett died Saturday on St. Thomas after what family said was a lengthy illness. The 59-year-old Plaskett was a resident of the Sea View Nursing Home at the time of his death.
Those who remembered him Sunday described Plaskett as a likeable, community-minded man with a flair for organization and gift for promotion and for bringing people together. One of his hallmark achievements was his role in the purchase of the West Indian Co., Ltd. from its Danish owners.
"He was the broker of record for the Danish West Indian Co., and I was negotiating for the Virgin Islands government in purchasing it," Ed Thomas, WICO president, said Sunday night. "I recall we had come to an impasse around February of 1993 where talks had broken down for about two weeks. It was Mel who called me at home and told me the Danes were ready to get back to the table and negotiate."
Those renewed talks led to an agreement a few weeks later and the signing by Gov. Alexander Farrelly of the bill that opened the way for the government to secure financing for purchasing WICO.
He also served as a member of the St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce for close to 15 years, a member of the V.I. Port Authority Governing Board, a co-chairman of the V.I. Carnival Committee for 13 years and publisher of the V.I. Business Journal in the 1990s.
In 1982 he ran as a candidate for lieutenant governor along with gubernatorial running mate Derek M. Hodge.
Plaskett also had a lengthy career as a real estate broker and worked with the then V.I. Department of Commerce, Division of Tourism, in the New York field office. While on the U.S. mainland he also founded Plaskett Publishing and worked as an executive for Zebra Advertising.
Veteran broadcaster Lee Carle recalled Plaskett as someone who knew how to do things in a big way. "He was very energetic, very active. He was well liked, a very good promoter and, [what] all of us at WSTA would remember, after Hurricane Hugo he organized an entire thing – they put up a monument and held a celebration and a march for all of us, thanking us for what we had done," Carle said Sunday.
Chamber of Commerce Director Joe Aubain also recalled Plaskett's role in creating the Wilbur "Bill" La Motta Community Service Awards.
Born Melville Delano Plaskett on May 30, 1945, he was one of eight children. He is survived by his former wife, Cheryl Shulterbrandt Plaskett, three children and two grandchildren.
Funeral services are pending.

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