St. John recently lost a longtime resident. Marty Beechler asked us to pass this along to all of you…
Rene A. Servant, 90, died on September 30, 2015 at the Roy L. Schneider Hospital on St. Thomas of natural causes. He loved to laugh and could always make you smile.
Rene was born in Malakoff, France on July 6, 1925. He was an only child and with his parents moved to Chevy Chase, MD at the age of one. He graduated from Woodrow Wilson HS in Washington, DC in 1943 and from the University of Wisconsin in 1949 with a B.S. in Physical Education.
Rene enlisted in the US Army Air Force as an Aviation Cadet on July 2, 1943 and received an Honorable Discharge from the 2509th AAF Base Unit on November 8, 1945.
On a trip back to France after college, Rene decided to learn the hair-dressing business, like his father. While there, he met his future wife, Marie Therese Louisa Legeai, known to her friends and family as “Mimi”. They were married in September 1950 at LeMans, France. They discovered when they applied for a marriage license that both their birthdays were on July 6, though Mimi was 7 years younger. She predeceased Rene in 2007 after 56 years of marriage.
The couple moved to Bethesda, MD where their their first son, Gaston, was born on July 8, 1951. Rene eventually took over the family business from his father and became the sole proprietor of “Gaston of Paris” salon. Rene and Mimi traveled to Puerto Rico for a convention and while on a day trip to St. John fell in love with the island. They decided to move to St. John after tragedy struck the family when their second son, Christopher was hit by a car and died at age 14. They bought property in Coral Bay in 1971 and started building their home in 1974 and moved to St. John permanently in 1978.
Once settled on St. John, Rene was recruited by Inga Hiilivirta, the founder of Islandia Real Estate, and Realtor Cees DeGraff while at a party. Rene became a very successful Realtor, real estate speculator and investor during his 25 year career with Islandia. Rene was well known around Coral Bay especially by the youngsters when he blew the air-horn on his Jeep which happened to play the French National Anthem, “La Marseillaise”. On January 1, 2007 Rene decided to retire but he still kept up on all the latest real estate news. Rene loved the sea, was an excellent swimmer and both he and Mimi also enjoyed snorkeling, sailing, windsurfing and hiking.
He leaves his son, Gaston R. Servant (64) a resident of Coral Bay, and two nieces on Mimi’s side, Elise Colaze and Christine Colaze, and Christine’s two sons, Ronan and Julian, all of whom reside in France. Like his dear wife Mimi, Rene’s wishes were to be cremated, with some of the ashes spread in the Caribbean Sea and the rest interred in the family plot in Maryland.