The End of an Era

St. John Says Goodbye to Lucy Matthias Smith-Prince

Mama Lucy Smith-Prince Passes: Hundreds of family members and friends gathered at the Emmaus Moravian Church overlooking Coral Bay on Saturday, October 6, for the “Going Home Celebration” for the late South Shore matriarch Lucy Agatha Smith-Prince of Friis Bay. Miss Lucy, a former educator at the Horace Mann School in John’s Folly, was the island’s first female taxi driver and a beloved ambassador to thousands of visiting “Continentals” as well as the beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother of a large extended family on St. John and St. Thomas. Photos Courtesy of William Smith

Lucy Agatha Matthias Smith-Prince, 91, known as “Mama Lucy” to a large family on St. John and St. Thomas, passed away on Friday, September 28, marking the end of an era on St. John.

The South Shore matriarch was affectionately known as “Miss Lucy” to the thousands of visitors — whom she referred to as “Continentals” — who had the joy of experiencing her island home through the eyes of the retired educator after she became the first female St. John taxi driver and tourism ambassador.

Miss Lucy kept a working farm filled with goats, pigs and chickens on her Friis Bay property adjacent to the popular family-run restaurant which bears her name.

Special personalities in Miss Lucy’s flock warranted unique names, such as Flora, who was a favorite of her second husband the late Herman Prince, and Billy, who was a leader of  Smith-Prince had for more than 20 years.

Miss Lucy was well-known for taking visitors on memorable island tours which often ended with a cookout at Cinnamon Bay Campground replete with stories of old time St. John.

While everyone who met Miss Lucy remembered her fondly, if she didn’t remember someone’s name she often explained, “I am one and they are many.”

Miss Lucy lived a simple life, but was lovingly remembered by the many visitors she hosted on St. John from all walks of life.
A longtime close friend of the late Laurance Rockefeller, Miss Lucy was the first person whom the philanthropist asked after each time he arrived on island.


Miss Lucy, the pioneering St. John female taxi driver, with one of the several taxis she drove over the years. Photo Courtesy of William Smith


Miss Lucy also touched the lives of numerous St. Johnians outside her large extended family, including her many students at the former Horace Mann School in John’s Folly.

Hundreds of family members and friends gathered at the Emmaus Moravian Church on Saturday morning, October 6, for the “Going Home Celebration” for the well-loved Ms. Lucy, who has brought her cow horn taxi hood ornament to heaven.