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John Wade Battles Dies in Texas, St. Thomas Memorial Planned

May 15, 2009 – John Wade Battles, retired operations manager and dock master of the West Indian Company, died on May 10. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, on April 2, 1924, he graduated from Salisbury School in Connecticut before enlisting in the U.S. Navy. After a stint on active duty during World War II with the Amphibious Forces of the Atlantic Fleet ended in 1945, John remained a member of the Naval Reserves until 1956. He graduated from Denison University in Ohio in 1948.
After a post-graduation stint with Time-Life in New York City, John moved to St. Thomas in 1956. In need of employment, he landed a job teaching at Antilles School where he met Barbara, his wife of 48 years. Eventually, John began his career in the maritime industry as president of Atlantic Lines, a subsidiary of the steamship company Chester, Blackburn & Roder, with service between New York and Miami to the Caribbean, Central and South America. After Atlantic Lines was sold to Chemical Bank, they elected to pull out of the Virgin Islands. In 1976, John was asked to be operations manager and dock master of the West Indian Company Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of the Danish East Asiatic Company. Additionally, he was appointed by King Olaf of Norway to serve as Royal Norwegian Consul to the U. S. Virgin Islands and was subsequently knighted by King Harald of Norway in recognition of his years of service to the Norwegian government. After 16 years with the West Indian Company, John retired and moved to Elk Rapids, Michigan, in 1993. In 2000, John and Barbara moved to Aiken, South Carolina, where they resided until moving to Kingwood, Texas, in January 2009.
An avid seafarer, he loved cruising around the Virgin Islands in his wooden trawler "Sabot." He also was an accomplished fisherman, landing an 814-pound record- breaking Atlantic blue marlin on rod and reel in 1964, which earned him a place in the "Guinness Book of Records." In 1971 and 1972, he served as Commodore of the St. Thomas Yacht Club.
A raconteur and bon vivant, he had an infectious zest for life, relishing travelling and the company of his extended family and numerous friends. He was a charter member of the St. Thomas Garden Club.
After moving to Aiken, John volunteered as a deputy in the Aiken County Sheriff's Posse and was vice president of the Parkway South Residency Association.
He is survived by his wife, Barbara J. Battles; his sons and daughters and their spouses: Wade and Beth Battles, Peter and Marie Battles, Wendy and Dennis O'Keefe, and Tawney and Clovis Christman; nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. John was preceded in death by daughter, Holly Battles.
A private memorial service was held May 12, at the Kingwood Funeral Home, Kingwood, Texas. Arrangements are pending for a gathering in John's memory on St. Thomas. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Alzheimer's Association, 225 N. Michigan Ave., Fl. 17, Chicago, Ill, 60601-7633.

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May 15, 2009 - John Wade Battles, retired operations manager and dock master of the West Indian Company, died on May 10. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, on April 2, 1924, he graduated from Salisbury School in Connecticut before enlisting in the U.S. Navy. After a stint on active duty during World War II with the Amphibious Forces of the Atlantic Fleet ended in 1945, John remained a member of the Naval Reserves until 1956. He graduated from Denison University in Ohio in 1948.
After a post-graduation stint with Time-Life in New York City, John moved to St. Thomas in 1956. In need of employment, he landed a job teaching at Antilles School where he met Barbara, his wife of 48 years. Eventually, John began his career in the maritime industry as president of Atlantic Lines, a subsidiary of the steamship company Chester, Blackburn & Roder, with service between New York and Miami to the Caribbean, Central and South America. After Atlantic Lines was sold to Chemical Bank, they elected to pull out of the Virgin Islands. In 1976, John was asked to be operations manager and dock master of the West Indian Company Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of the Danish East Asiatic Company. Additionally, he was appointed by King Olaf of Norway to serve as Royal Norwegian Consul to the U. S. Virgin Islands and was subsequently knighted by King Harald of Norway in recognition of his years of service to the Norwegian government. After 16 years with the West Indian Company, John retired and moved to Elk Rapids, Michigan, in 1993. In 2000, John and Barbara moved to Aiken, South Carolina, where they resided until moving to Kingwood, Texas, in January 2009.
An avid seafarer, he loved cruising around the Virgin Islands in his wooden trawler "Sabot." He also was an accomplished fisherman, landing an 814-pound record- breaking Atlantic blue marlin on rod and reel in 1964, which earned him a place in the "Guinness Book of Records." In 1971 and 1972, he served as Commodore of the St. Thomas Yacht Club.
A raconteur and bon vivant, he had an infectious zest for life, relishing travelling and the company of his extended family and numerous friends. He was a charter member of the St. Thomas Garden Club.
After moving to Aiken, John volunteered as a deputy in the Aiken County Sheriff's Posse and was vice president of the Parkway South Residency Association.
He is survived by his wife, Barbara J. Battles; his sons and daughters and their spouses: Wade and Beth Battles, Peter and Marie Battles, Wendy and Dennis O'Keefe, and Tawney and Clovis Christman; nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. John was preceded in death by daughter, Holly Battles.
A private memorial service was held May 12, at the Kingwood Funeral Home, Kingwood, Texas. Arrangements are pending for a gathering in John's memory on St. Thomas. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Alzheimer's Association, 225 N. Michigan Ave., Fl. 17, Chicago, Ill, 60601-7633.