Arran Bruce McGinnis, 57 years old, of Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, died on Tuesday, Jan. 28. He was born on March 6, 1962, in Peoria, Ill. He was born to C. Dirk McGinnis and Martha E. (Pfeffinger) McGinnis.
He was raised in Peoria and attended Peoria Central High School, the oldest high school in the U.S. west of the Allegheny Mountains. He had a love for boats from an early age and spent as much time as he could out on the river and learning how to sail boats, repair them and rebuild them. He learned to love the Virgin Islands during family vacations in high school when they would go bareboating out of the Moorings. When the opportunity arose in 1988 to come down to St. Thomas to work for a charter boat company, he jumped at the chance.
Caribbean Sailing Charters gave him the opportunity to have full time employment in the location he had always dreamed of. He worked his way up from a boatyard worker to the assistant in charge of charters to the head of the charter business within two years.
He was in Red Hook harbor, living aboard his sailboat, when that company closed. He next went to work on the island of Little St. James for a few years where he was in charge of all island things including a motor, a battery or a generator. He left there to work for a condo association. He was the supervisor for the property and helped them rebuild after a storm. As that property became fully repaired, he needed new employment.
He came across the opportunity to work for Pirate’s Paradise Adventures. It was there he really had the most fun. He loved picking up clients from the cruise ships and giving them the tours aboard either the 32’ powerboats “Red Beard” or “Black Beard.” He would zip them over to the BVI or stay in the USVI if they chose for snorkeling, beautiful beaches or up to climb around at the Baths. If they were interested. he would take them into the harbors to stop at the Soggy Dollar, Foxy’s or the Willy T.
Arran survived Hurricane Irma fairly well. It was a scary night, but he felt that he would bounce back from that. However, after Hurricane Maria, his own boat, “Captain Sunshine,” was very hard hit. One of his powerboats was completely sunk and the other was just barely able to be raised. He was starting to enjoy being out on the boat again as the Island recovered from the two hurricanes.
Arran lived life large. He took risks in life that were exciting, traveling to New Zealand with his good friends Karen and Bryce, scuba diving, bungee jumped off a bridge, went sky diving and sailed his boat to South America. He had an infectious, memorable laugh, and never met a stranger.
Arran leaves behind his father, Dirk McGinnis; sisters: Rosalind (Ron) Helms, Polly (Mike) McNally and Meghan (Arnel) Tejero. He is also survived by eight nieces and nephews. His cat, Finn, one of many beloved cats he had, will be missing him as well. He was preceded in death by his mother, Mari McGinnis.
Some of his property and possessions will be donated to the Humane Society to help them raise needed funds. In lieu of flowers, donations to the charity of choice can be made in Arran’s memory.
The Celebration of Life will be Thursday, Feb. 6, at the CaRiGas Island Café, hosted by his very good friends, Sally and Randy Driscoll, at Independent Boat Yard from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. His ashes will be scattered at a later time in the Islands and in Peoria as well.