The U.S. Virgin Islands has lost one of its most significant culture bearers and educators with the passing of Dr. Ruth-Marie Moolenaar, Governor Kenneth Mapp said Tuesday.

“Lt. Governor Osbert Potter and I offer our deepest condolences to her family and many friends,” the Governor said. “Her passing is a great loss to the Territory. Mrs. Moolenaar educated and inspired countless Virgin Islanders to take greater interest in our local history and culture. Her love for the Virgin Islands was unwavering. She took great pride in documenting the stories, accomplishments and traditions of our people.”  

Dr. Moolenaar is perhaps most widely known for her writings about Virgin Islands history, including a publication on the historic Savan neighborhood that was featured as part of the 1991 American Folklife Festival at the Smithsonian Institution. She was also the author of Legacies of Upstreet, which chronicled the evolution of the neighborhood known as Upstreet in downtown Charlotte Amalie, as well as Profiles of Outstanding Virgin Islanders, which highlighted the achievements of notable Virgin Islanders at home and abroad.

As a dedicated teacher, Mrs. Moolenaar served 42 years at the V.I. Department of Education. She later became the first principal of Jane E. Tuitt School and vice-chair of the Board of Education. Mrs. Moolenaar served on many civic and cultural boards and was commended by the 20th Legislature of the Virgin Islands in 1994. In 2016, she was lauded by the University of the Virgin Islands.

“I was humbled to be present when she received an honorary doctorate from UVI in 2016,” Governor Mapp said. “It was a well-deserved tribute for her community service and love of education and Virgin Islands history. She will be so deeply missed, but her scholarly pursuits and commitment to our islands will not be forgotten.”

 The Governor extended special condolences to Mrs. Moolenaar’s children – Dr. Gwen-Marie Moolenaar, Attorney Gwenneth Moolenaar, Dr. Lucien Moolenaar II and to her adopted daughter, Ingrid Warrington.

“May her soul rest in eternal peace,” Governor Mapp said.