Robert Estabrook Tonks died in his 97th year at his home in Morningstar, St. Croix, on Saturday, January 12. Bob was born in Princeton, New Jersey, spent his childhood in Poughkeepsie, NY, where his father was a professor of art at Vassar College. He graduated from Williams College, obtained a master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania and was a biology teacher for 32 years before retiring to become a full-time sailor.
With his wife, Margery, he sailed to the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific and crossed the Atlantic to sail three years in the Mediterranean. After 17 years of living on their boat, they sold it and purchased a home on St. Croix and a smaller sailboat for local sailing.
Bob was a U.S. COAST GUARD Auxiliary member from 1990 to date and served as a Vessel Examiner, Radio Watchstander, Flotilla Finance Officer and Flotilla Personnel Officer. He earned the prestigious AUXOP award at age 92 that set a standard for younger members to follow. He was also Past Commander of the St. Croix Power Squadron, a district officer and member of a national committee. He was a member of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of St. Croix.
Bob spent many summers on Chebeague Island, Maine, sailing the coast of Maine and Nova Scotia.
He leaves his wife, Margery, after 69 years of marriage, his three children, Marilyn, Philip, and Andrew; his grandchildren, Kirsten, Brian, Patrick, Thalassa, Nicholas, and Charles; and his four great grandsons, Elliot, Hayden, Trevor, and Oliver.
A memorial service will be held at the St. George Botanical
Gardens at 2:00 p.m., Sunday, January 20, 2008. In lieu of flowers,
donations may be sent to St. Croix Environmental Association or
the Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship of St. Croix.