Elihu Rhymer, a public officer and businessman who also wore many other hats in the community, will be remembered during a funeral service on Saturday at North Sound Methodist Church in Virgin Gorda.

Mr. Rhymer died Feb. 4 at the Dr. D. Orlando Smith Hospital in Road Town. He was 80.

Born on Nov. 27, 1942 on Virgin Gorda, he grew up on his family’s farm in North Sound, helping his father milk cows and do other chores, he recounted in Joan Soncini’s book Virgin Gorda: An Intimate Portrait.

Mr. Rhymer was among the first students on the island to come to Tortola for secondary education, which he began in 1956, he recalled in the book.

After attending college in Antigua, he served as headmaster at St. Mary’s School in The Valley before earning a bachelor’s degree at Mt. Allison University in Canada in 1971 and a master’s degree in public administration and economic development at Carleton University in Canada the following year.

Public officer

On his return to the territory, he worked as an administrative officer in the Chief Minister’s Office before rising through the ranks of the public service to become a permanent secretary in the Ministry of Communications and Works from 1974-1976.

Mr. Rhymer also served on bodies including the BVI Tourist Board, which he chaired for 16 years, and the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College board, which he chaired for four.

As a businessman, he undertook endeavours including the Josiahs Bay Cottages, BVI Development Consultants and Best Vacations Imaginable.

Additionally, he was a prolific commentator whose letters on politics and other local affairs frequently appeared on this newspaper’s opinion pages starting shortly after it was founded in 1984.

For his contributions to the community, Mr. Rhymer was named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2018, earning the British Empire Medal.

This month, Premier Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley offered condolences and recognised Mr. Rhymer’s contributions.

“Mr. Elihu Rymer was a former teacher, permanent secretary, businessman, talk show host, and civic-minded patriotic Virgin Islander,” Dr. Wheatley said during a recent press conference.


Mr. Rhymer is survived by his wife Dr. Patricia Todman-Rhymer, daughter Kimeli Rhymer-Hanley, son Brian Rhymer, brother Daniel Harrigan, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

A viewing is scheduled for 10 a.m. and a service for 11 a.m. Saturday at North Sound Methodist Church in VG.