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On Island Profile: Arnold 'Mortie' Golden

March 25, 2007 — Arnold "Mortie" Golden has served the Virgin Islands for decades, and he continues to serve well into his eighth decade on St. Croix.
At age 75, Golden still gets out in the bush doing land surveys. People refuse to let him retire, he says, but he doesn't mind. Surveying has been his profession, but he has served the community in numerous positions.
During his boyhood, Golden says, "I was always out in the countryside and enjoying every minute of it. We had so much to do such as fishing, hunting, riding, diving, swimming and lobstering. A lot of things were different then. Even Transfer Day was not a big deal, but we were always conscious of it. It started to get big 20 years ago. The ceremony grew from music bands, soldiers and schoolchildren marching."
Two years ago, he served as principle speaker at the Transfer Day celebrations.
Golden was born in Frederiksted of Irish lineage. His ancestors came to St. Croix in 1810. He grew up in Christiansted, attended St. Mary's School and graduated from Christiansted High School in 1949. He attended the Poly Technical Institute in Puerto Rico.
During the Korean War, Golden volunteered for the U.S. Army. He served in the 45th division of the infantry as a first rifleman, and worked as an Army intelligence specialist. In 1956 he was called to join the reserves. He then became the commander of the Army Reserve Unit on St. Croix.
Also in 1956, Golden married Carmen Maria Encarnacion. The couple would go on to have six children.
Golden's career as a land appraiser began in 1960 in the Tax Assessor's office. Then he moved up. He served in the 8th Legislature from 1968 to 1970. The salary and perks were much less than now, he says, but "We did a good job representing the community."
Through most of the 1970s, Golden managed Sunny Isle Shopping center. In 1972, he became the commissioner of Public Works, serving for 10 years. He also served as the public administrator for St. Croix. His last venture into high office came between 1983 and 1987, when he served as commissioner of commerce.
Recently Golden has focused much of his time on tracing his roots. His curiosity about history was piqued after hearing his father say, "We go back to the Indians." He has enjoyed collecting bits and pieces of history and putting his family genealogy together.
But his new focus has not taken him away from participating in the community. Golden is a member of the Knights of Columbus, AARP, American Legion, St. Croix Landmark Society and the Friends of Denmark.
Even so, Golden is willing to step back for younger people to assume leadership roles: "I'm 75 now — let someone else takeover."
But he still keeps a hand in the issues. Golden often sits in on a Saturday morning talk show on WSTX. That keeps him alert to current issues, but he never strays too far from his interest in history. Golden enjoys reading, and his favorite subject is Alexander Hamilton, the American founding father who learned business growing up on St. Croix.
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March 25, 2007 -- Arnold "Mortie" Golden has served the Virgin Islands for decades, and he continues to serve well into his eighth decade on St. Croix.
At age 75, Golden still gets out in the bush doing land surveys. People refuse to let him retire, he says, but he doesn't mind. Surveying has been his profession, but he has served the community in numerous positions.
During his boyhood, Golden says, "I was always out in the countryside and enjoying every minute of it. We had so much to do such as fishing, hunting, riding, diving, swimming and lobstering. A lot of things were different then. Even Transfer Day was not a big deal, but we were always conscious of it. It started to get big 20 years ago. The ceremony grew from music bands, soldiers and schoolchildren marching."
Two years ago, he served as principle speaker at the Transfer Day celebrations.
Golden was born in Frederiksted of Irish lineage. His ancestors came to St. Croix in 1810. He grew up in Christiansted, attended St. Mary's School and graduated from Christiansted High School in 1949. He attended the Poly Technical Institute in Puerto Rico.
During the Korean War, Golden volunteered for the U.S. Army. He served in the 45th division of the infantry as a first rifleman, and worked as an Army intelligence specialist. In 1956 he was called to join the reserves. He then became the commander of the Army Reserve Unit on St. Croix.
Also in 1956, Golden married Carmen Maria Encarnacion. The couple would go on to have six children.
Golden's career as a land appraiser began in 1960 in the Tax Assessor's office. Then he moved up. He served in the 8th Legislature from 1968 to 1970. The salary and perks were much less than now, he says, but "We did a good job representing the community."
Through most of the 1970s, Golden managed Sunny Isle Shopping center. In 1972, he became the commissioner of Public Works, serving for 10 years. He also served as the public administrator for St. Croix. His last venture into high office came between 1983 and 1987, when he served as commissioner of commerce.
Recently Golden has focused much of his time on tracing his roots. His curiosity about history was piqued after hearing his father say, "We go back to the Indians." He has enjoyed collecting bits and pieces of history and putting his family genealogy together.
But his new focus has not taken him away from participating in the community. Golden is a member of the Knights of Columbus, AARP, American Legion, St. Croix Landmark Society and the Friends of Denmark.
Even so, Golden is willing to step back for younger people to assume leadership roles: "I'm 75 now -- let someone else takeover."
But he still keeps a hand in the issues. Golden often sits in on a Saturday morning talk show on WSTX. That keeps him alert to current issues, but he never strays too far from his interest in history. Golden enjoys reading, and his favorite subject is Alexander Hamilton, the American founding father who learned business growing up on St. Croix.
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.