Wha’s Happ’nin’ by Sis Frank

St. John resident Bob Farmer, right, shows Governor Cyril E. King, center, and St. John Administrator Roy Sewer, left, the cacti garden he planted next to the Tourism Bureau in the late 1970s.

Founding Father of St. John Passes
Did you know him as Mr. Roy, Pepe Ry, Administrator Roy L. Sewer of St. John or principal of Julius E. Sprauve School? Was he wearing his Lion’s Club jacket or was he conducting a meeting with the late Gov. Cyril E. King and the ICM party?

In the early 60’s, when Sabra and Leif Erickson entertained at their house above Gibney Beach, Mr. Roy and Miss Athyl were always there to enjoy Ivan Jadan’s glorious voice or perhaps a piano concert given by a visiting artist.

When Mr. Roy went to New York City to obtain a higher degree in education, the Ericksons gave a marvelous party that none of us will forget.

As the years passed, I became the manager of the original St. John steel orchestra. Mr. Roy was the principal of Sprauve School where most of the musicians attended classes. Every afternoon and all day on Saturdays, the band rehearsed in the auditorium. This entailed major set-ups, break downs and storage, all of which Mr. Roy handled with ease. Anything that we needed, he was always ready to find a solution to our request.

When he became our Administrator, it was a joy to attend his well-organized committee meetings as we planned ground-breakings, dedications, various campaigns and celebrations. Those were the days of planning committees that made suggestions for the future growth of St. John. Yes, we had them, there were documented reports made to the government, but I wonder if anyone really considered these well-thought out plans. It doesn’t seem so, in light of the current state of chaos.

Holiday parties at the Sewer’s meant singing, dancing and marvelous food. The Christmas carolers couldn’t wait to stop at their hilltop home. Mr. Roy’s “library” was lined with every paperback written by Louis L’Amour, a fascinating wallpaper design of those wonderful westerns.

His beautiful yard was, and still is, a mass of colorful plants, trees and vines. He was careful to plant a garden that did not appeal to his cherished goats. I was fascinated one afternoon when he opened their gate to let all 25 of them play in the yard and then, just like a circus act, he clapped his hands, shouting “pen pen” — they wheeled around and raced back to their pen, ending their daily playtime.

Whenever he found free time, Mr. Roy enjoyed a good swim — late afternoons at Mary Holter’s pool were full of fun as the events of the day were discussed, and, more recently, joining Miss Alma Wesselhoft at Maho Bay, where they reminisced about their childhood on Mary’s Point.

There were times when his great sense of humor took over — was he teasing me? But I shall never forget how kind Miss Athyl and Mr. Roy were to me over the years. Their sound advice and true concern for my welfare, even to sending me home with a hearty Sunday dinner, meant so much to me.

My prayers and deepest sympathy to his family and many friends.