The family of Jean Doumergue Larsen sadly announces his passing on July 25 at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Fla. Jean died at the age of 83 years old and was the son of Leonard L. and Gervillia R. Thelemaque Larsen, both deceased.
Jean was a loving husband to his wife, Julia nee Rojas, for over 56 years. He was a wonderful father to his sons: Jon Larsen and Gerville Larsen; and to his daughter, Larisa Larsen-Neaves.
Jean was a proud Crucian who attended St. Ann’s Catholic School in Barrenspot and graduated high school from St. Mary’s Catholic School in Christiansted. He received his bachelor’s degree in 1958 from Manhattan College in New York City, with a major in physics and a minor in mathematics.
After graduation, Jean worked as a technical writer with the Sperry Gyroscope Company of Long Island, then returned to St. Croix to teach mathematics at the Christiansted High School. He was drafted into the military and stationed at the Army Ballistic Missile Agency in Huntsville, Ala., where he worked as a physicist and mathematician in the agency’s thermodynamics laboratory.
After his tour of duty, Jean returned to St. Croix. He was reunited with Julia and the couple was married in August 1963 at Holy Cross Church.
Jean’s professional career spanned many years and organizations in the territory, including the Governor’s Office of Public Information where he worked as a photographer/writer, the St. Croix Environmental Laboratory, the Caribbean Research Institute, College of the Virgin Islands, CVI, and finally the Department of Labor, which he joined in 1972.
Under the Melvin Evans governorship, Jean was selected as Director of OSHA. In 1985, under the Governor Luis administration, Jean was appointed Commissioner of Labor. During that time, he also acquired a Master’s in Public Administration from CVI. A man of discipline, integrity and good disposition, Jean forged lasting bonds with his staff on St. Croix and St. Thomas. Under Governor Farrelly’s administration, Jean transitioned to the directorship of the SBDA until 1990, when he retired due to health issues.
Jean served on a number of commissions and boards throughout his professional career, including the American Revolution Bicentennial Commission, the Coastal Zone Management Commission, the Medical Advisory Committee, Special Committee on Zoning, Virgin Islands Planning Office Advisory Board and the Sub Committee on Environmental Quality, and the Board of the Virgin Islands Port Authority. He was also a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the New York Academy of the Sciences.
Jean was a scientist, poet, writer and pilot. He acquired his private and commercial pilot licenses but could not continue flying due to health issues. His son Jon continued Jean’s dream and is a captain with United Airlines.
In addition to his wife Julia; sons: Jon (wife Maritza) and Gerville; daughter, Larisa (husband Mitchell Neaves), Jean is survived by three grandchildren: Miguel Larsen, Liandra Larsen and Lani Neaves. His sister, Juanita Larsen Smail, predeceased him in 1990 while serving as the St. Croix Superintendent of Education.
Survivors also include his older brother, Leonard E. Larsen (aka Buddy) and spouse Candida Larsen; nephews: Stephen Smail, Gary Smail, Tracy Smail, Bruce Smail and Lenny Larsen; and nieces: Jan Smail, Cathy Clarke and Angela Larsen-Bennett and their families.
Jean is also survived by numerous cousins and extended family, including Larry Larsen, the Thelemaque family in California and others in the New York area and beyond; as well as many close friends and associates too numerous to mention.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a memorial service for Jean will be held at a future date to be announced. Wearing of masks and social distancing are highly recommended at that time. A private interment will be held for family members only and a few special friends.
May Jean continue to fly with the angels. May he rest in peace.