Hilda Stoutt, the widow of the Virgin Islands’ first chief minister, died at the age of 84 on Feb. 8.

On Dec. 6, 1956, Ms. Stoutt married H. Lavity Stoutt, who Premier Andrew Fahie last week described as the leader largely responsible for the modernisation of the Virgin Islands.

“Today we continue to build on what he started and what others have also contributed for us to be able to build on today,” Mr. Fahie said during a press conference on Friday, where he held a moment of silence for Ms. Stoutt.

He also commented on the importance of spouses for elected officials.

“They are truly the ones who keep the family together and they keep us as elected officials together,” he said.

Ms. Stoutt was honoured along with three other chief ministers’ wives on International Women’s Day in March 2011. She and the others were praised for their work behind the scenes helping their husbands lead the territory.

Ms. Stoutt, who died at the Dr. D. Orlando Smith Hospital, was born on May 12, 1937 into a family of eight children.

She is survived by six children and grandchildren.

Ms. Stoutt stood by her husband throughout his 38- year political career, during which he served as the territory’s first chief minister starting in 1967.

He died while serving as chief minister in 1995 and was succeeded by Ralph O’Neal.

With his wife’s support, Mr. Stoutt played a crucial role in the building of the cruise ship pier, the creation of the Social Security Board, the construction of the Central Administration Building, and the development of the community college that now bears his name.

As of press time yesterday afternoon, the family had not yet set a date for Ms. Stoutt’s funeral.