Dec. 20, 2005- Former Sen. Douglas Canton Sr. died Monday after a long illness. He was 74.
A carpenter who taught his craft at Central High School on St. Croix, Canton served in the 17th Legislature. After serving one term, he returned to teaching.
Education was his focus, he said in a 1986 pre-election interview.
"The students are reaching high school unprepared to handle work at the high school level. They lack the basics," Canton said.
A vocal critic of the government, he said he ran because he felt he could make changes.
He said that the government must be accountable to the people, especially in the area of contracts. Canton said little evaluation is done to see that the government gets what it pays for. He also said that accountability is a two-way street and people must pay their taxes on time.
"Accountability comes from the chief executive on down," he said.
Condolences came in Monday and Tuesday as word of Canton's death spread.
"This loved and loving husband, father and mentor had an unwavering devotion to the youth of this territory," Gov. Charles W. Turnbull said in a release from Government House. "As a Senator, he was sincere, industrious and diligent in his efforts to promote the Virgin Islands, particularly St. Croix," Turnbull said. "His genial personality and generous nature will be missed by all who knew him. He contributed positively to the betterment of his homeland and, we are grateful to recognize him as a very noteworthy native son."
Lt. Gov. Vargrave Richards in a news release called Canton a true advocate for the people and children of St. Croix.
"Throughout his life, Sen. Canton promoted the education of the territory's youth," Richards said.
He said he'll miss Canton's activism and can-do attitude. He said he truly embodied the slogan he used when he ran for Senate in 1986 "If anybody can, Canton can."
Delegate Donna M. Christensen expressed her condolences in a release from her office as well.
"Our community has long missed Senator Canton who has been away from his beloved St. Croix because of illness," she said. "We will however, remember his contributions as the patriarch of a productive family and as a tireless community activist, especially in the area of education."
Canton is survived by his wife, Pauline, and son, former Sen. Douglas Canton Jr., as well as other children Denise, David, Danny, Leone, Dinah, Robert, and Devon.
Funeral arrangements with James Memorial Funeral Home are pending.
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