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Robert Amandus Johnson Dies

Robert Amandus Johnson died on Tuesday, Jan. 17. A memorial service will be held at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday ,Feb.9, at the St. George Village Botanical Garden for Robert Amandus Johnson, a 51-year resident of St. Croix. The following is a tribute to ”a man for all seasons.”
Robert Amandus Johnson was a striking personality. Undoubtedly the first human trait you noticed about him was his extreme politeness. He was a gentleman in the true sense of the word. Tall, with a commanding figure and erect gait, he had a genteel suavity that must have been a natural gift he was born with and then honed by many disciplined years in the military to a perfection. He had been a Lt. Commander in the U.S. Navy for 20 years. He loved St. Croix and was always proud to pronounce that the first time he glimpsed this island he knew he would make it his permanent home. Recently, on Dec 20, he held a celebratory party at his home at Estate Boetzberg where he lived in serene trappings befitting an art and historical museum. It was to celebrate his 50 years of residence on St. Croix, an achievement of which he was particuliarly proud. Approximately 75 of his close friends were in attendance to celebrate this milestone with him. My wife and I was unable to attend this party as we had other commitments off island just before the Christmas holidays. But we spent about two hours in my art studio explaining why we would be absent at this celebration and discussed many interesting subjects.
Robert Amandus Johnson was a passionate collector of art, priceless and historical books, handwrtitten documents, letters, coins and basically any trivia or treasure that would validate some significant kernel of truth, history or human wisdom or creativity. An old postcard from the early nineteen hundreds depicting the Lawaetz Museum (Estate Little la Grange) advertised on the internet for sale in Latin America must justifiably have ended up in his collector hands. A portrait of the first Black millionaire, William Alexander Leidesdorff, with Crucian roots hung on his walls next to others such as members of the distinguished Markoe family. A personal tour of his informative castle was a treat for anyone fortunate enough to have entered its doors. And though these tours were limited, he had greater ambition for the future of this island. All of his amassed collections of art, history, Pre-Columbian artifacts etc. would someday be housed in a museum on St, Croix for the intellectual benefit of all of its citizens. This was his dream because he really had one.
Robert Amandus Johnson felt strongly that much of our ancestral roots had been buried in the past, neglected by time and circumstance, and he felt he could be the one to make a difference in sustaining its historical value because he had the time and the interest. He also had some historical theory affecting the lineage status of Alexander Hamilton he had been working on to which he maintained he had the solid proof and to which he hoped to disclose at some time in the near future. He was actively working on more historical books about the island, researching and travelling to countries such as Denmark to conduct key archival research with other fellow historians. He was a dynamo of local knowledge and the past personalities of St. Croix and one could only marvel and be awe-struck at his command of facts, places and events. His demise by a brutal murder was also an additional historical milestone, tragic and senseless as it is felt, one that will certainly surface with its horrid reminder in the annals of time in our local history.
Robert Amandus Johnson’s own death will automatically become a significant part of our history for the mere reason that he was an indelible influence, legacy and friend to multitudes, both black and white.
He made a personal difference to many who knew him. His nature was multi-faceted and memorable. You always knew a bit more about a particular subject when you had conversed with him. But above all his existence here solidifies a greater truth than his many personal achievements to collect knowledge about this island for the future gain of all. The way and manner in which he lived and how he shared graciously with others of all walks of life will live on resplendently to support the testimony of who he really was in our midst. He has proven by his personal example that it is more important to be a contributor to the place where you live than to just take for granted a birth place as your own. He, with his singular style of gentility and knowledge, coupled with demonstrative social and cultural engagement, more than earned his right to be called a Crucian. He will be remembered. He was a man for all seasons.

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Robert Amandus Johnson died on Tuesday, Jan. 17. A memorial service will be held at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday ,Feb.9, at the St. George Village Botanical Garden for Robert Amandus Johnson, a 51-year resident of St. Croix. The following is a tribute to ”a man for all seasons.”
Robert Amandus Johnson was a striking personality. Undoubtedly the first human trait you noticed about him was his extreme politeness. He was a gentleman in the true sense of the word. Tall, with a commanding figure and erect gait, he had a genteel suavity that must have been a natural gift he was born with and then honed by many disciplined years in the military to a perfection. He had been a Lt. Commander in the U.S. Navy for 20 years. He loved St. Croix and was always proud to pronounce that the first time he glimpsed this island he knew he would make it his permanent home. Recently, on Dec 20, he held a celebratory party at his home at Estate Boetzberg where he lived in serene trappings befitting an art and historical museum. It was to celebrate his 50 years of residence on St. Croix, an achievement of which he was particuliarly proud. Approximately 75 of his close friends were in attendance to celebrate this milestone with him. My wife and I was unable to attend this party as we had other commitments off island just before the Christmas holidays. But we spent about two hours in my art studio explaining why we would be absent at this celebration and discussed many interesting subjects.
Robert Amandus Johnson was a passionate collector of art, priceless and historical books, handwrtitten documents, letters, coins and basically any trivia or treasure that would validate some significant kernel of truth, history or human wisdom or creativity. An old postcard from the early nineteen hundreds depicting the Lawaetz Museum (Estate Little la Grange) advertised on the internet for sale in Latin America must justifiably have ended up in his collector hands. A portrait of the first Black millionaire, William Alexander Leidesdorff, with Crucian roots hung on his walls next to others such as members of the distinguished Markoe family. A personal tour of his informative castle was a treat for anyone fortunate enough to have entered its doors. And though these tours were limited, he had greater ambition for the future of this island. All of his amassed collections of art, history, Pre-Columbian artifacts etc. would someday be housed in a museum on St, Croix for the intellectual benefit of all of its citizens. This was his dream because he really had one.
Robert Amandus Johnson felt strongly that much of our ancestral roots had been buried in the past, neglected by time and circumstance, and he felt he could be the one to make a difference in sustaining its historical value because he had the time and the interest. He also had some historical theory affecting the lineage status of Alexander Hamilton he had been working on to which he maintained he had the solid proof and to which he hoped to disclose at some time in the near future. He was actively working on more historical books about the island, researching and travelling to countries such as Denmark to conduct key archival research with other fellow historians. He was a dynamo of local knowledge and the past personalities of St. Croix and one could only marvel and be awe-struck at his command of facts, places and events. His demise by a brutal murder was also an additional historical milestone, tragic and senseless as it is felt, one that will certainly surface with its horrid reminder in the annals of time in our local history.
Robert Amandus Johnson's own death will automatically become a significant part of our history for the mere reason that he was an indelible influence, legacy and friend to multitudes, both black and white.
He made a personal difference to many who knew him. His nature was multi-faceted and memorable. You always knew a bit more about a particular subject when you had conversed with him. But above all his existence here solidifies a greater truth than his many personal achievements to collect knowledge about this island for the future gain of all. The way and manner in which he lived and how he shared graciously with others of all walks of life will live on resplendently to support the testimony of who he really was in our midst. He has proven by his personal example that it is more important to be a contributor to the place where you live than to just take for granted a birth place as your own. He, with his singular style of gentility and knowledge, coupled with demonstrative social and cultural engagement, more than earned his right to be called a Crucian. He will be remembered. He was a man for all seasons.