In recognition of his legacy and to celebrate his 100th birthday posthumously, members of the 34th Legislature of the Virgin Islands honored Earle B. Ottley on Monday, March 22.
Senators in attendance gathered for a tribute in his memory, and a wreath was placed near his memorial plaque on the Legislature’s grounds on St. Thomas, where his ashes are laid to rest.
Born March 22, 1921, Ottley was the embodiment of an outstanding Virgin Islander. He actively served as a leader and pioneer throughout his distinguished professional career to improve the lives of Virgin Islanders. Ottley’s unwavering commitment and passion for the place he called home positioned him at the forefront of the legislative body from 1947 to his retirement in 1980. His commitment of more than 30 years to public service gave him the distinction of having the Legislative Chambers on St. Thomas named in his honor. This recognition served as a hallmark for legislators who followed his tenure.
“Today we stand on his shoulders, and I am proud to serve as the president of the 34th Legislature on the year when he would have made 100 years. We wish to thank his family for loaning him to the people of the United States Virgin Islands,” said Senate President Donna Frett-Gregory.
Ottley will forever be remembered as a significant part of Virgin Islands history as a trailblazer and an influential public servant. He leaves his mark not only in the halls of the Legislature but on the overall political, economic, social and cultural landscape of the territory.
“Ottley was instrumental in ensuring the rise of the middle class in the U.S. Virgin Islands. My only hope and wish is that as legislators we are able to take the mantle forward and build on the middle class here in the territory so we can have a Virgin Islands not only for a few but a Virgin Islands for all,” said Frett-Gregory.