Ruby Deoneicia Tyson Nelthropp stepped into eternity on Nov. 16. Born in Camaguey, Cuba, on May 17, 1921, she was raised and educated in Jamaica, West Indies. In 1935 she traveled to the United States to join her mother in New York. While there she worked in various capacities and furthered her education. She met Earle Bromley Nelthropp, of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, and they married on Dec. 24, 1947. They had a daughter, Sonya Deoneicia Nelthropp, in May 1949. The family relocated to St. Thomas in 1953, and she called it her home ever since.
Her first love was always teaching. Upon arriving on St. Thomas, she taught first at Lincoln School, then CAHS and All Saints Parish School. She believed strongly in the importance of a good education and thought it the most valuable gift a parent could give their child. She continued her own education taking courses at Columbia and Hampton Universities and received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from UVI in 1971.
For many years she worked in an administrative capacity for the government of the Virgin Islands’ Departments of Welfare, Health and Public Works. She prided herself in being a champion for better working conditions and benefits for employees and was instrumental in improving work conditions in the Public Works Department as well as establishing an employee benefit program that still functions. She gave tirelessly to this community she loved and was an active or founding member of the local chapters of AARP, the Mental Health Association, Al-Anon and many other organizations. She assisted with getting resources for the Dial-a Ride program, the Center for Independent Living, and she started a family planning program. She could always be counted on to contribute when requested.
To her family she was a provider, a pillar of strength, a wonderful and loving mother, and a caring wife. She built a strong family life for her daughter and husband and still found time for other activities. An avid tennis player, she combined her love of the sport with her love of teaching when she, along with Elmo Roebuck Sr., formed a tennis clinic for the youth of the community. She was a fierce pingpong opponent and a long distance swimmer and would swim the length of Magens Bay both ways. After her retirement, she enjoyed traveling and learning about other cultures. Her travels took her to Europe, China, Israel and parts of the United States. She loved flowers, gardening and bright colors. She was most happy when dancing. She always liked to say she had “joyeux de vivre” – “Joy of Life”.
She was dearly loved by all whose lives she touched; she was the foundation for her daughter’s strength; she leaves a void. She will be greatly missed.
She is survived by her daughter, Sonya Nelthropp; sister, Winifred O’Reilly; nephews: Brian, John and Stephen O’Reilly; the Tyson families of Wales, UK and Jamaica; stepdaughters: Claudia Nelthropp Keller and Pat Nelthropp Beard; and stepson, Earle Nelthropp.
As per her wishes, she will be cremated; a celebration of her life will be held at a later date.
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Since 1999 the Virgin Islands Source – the only online newspaper of general circulation in the U.S. Virgin Islands – has been providing the community with reliable, accurate and balanced local journalism.