In Loving Memory
Manuela Maria Bonet Gotterup
September 22, 1905 January 4, 1997
Friday. January 31, 1997, 4:00 pm
&ts. Peter and Paul Cathedral
St Thomas, U.S. Vrgin Islands
Manuela Maria Bonet Gotterup
Quiet. Reserved. The two words that first spring to mind when describ-
ing Pakie Gotterup. But immediately other words and phrases follow -
beautifully mannered ... well-spoken ... a true lady. Pakie possessed in
abundance all of the qualities that were treasured hallmarks of cultured
women in St. Thomas society. But she also possessed other qualities,
perhaps hidden from the casual observer by that cool reserve but sc
evident to those who knew her a backbone of steel and intelligence tc
match. Those two gifts were to be the most important elements in a life
that proved that you can triumph over adversity.
To start at the beginning, the little girl that was born on September 22,
1905 was named Manuela Maria Francisca by her parents, Elena DeMaza
and Sebastian Bonet-Berga. This impressive name was soon abandoned in
favor of the pet name Paquita, which was later shortened to Pakie. This is
how she was known to her children, family and close friends.
Details of Pakie's early life are sketchy her reserved nature did not
lend itself to divulging too much of the past. It is known, though, that she
was raised by her grandmother and attended the convent school. And,
that after a few years, she became part of a much larger family when hei
mother married Francois deLagarde and provided Pakie with eight sib-
When she was still just a slip of a girl, a mere 18, Pakie married a
dashing young electrical engineer from Copenhagen, John P. Gotterup,
who had come to St. Thomas to install and run the crane operations at
West Indian Co. dock. Soon after their marriage, John was offered a
position at a sugar plantation in St. Croix and the newlyweds set off on an
adventure which included the birth of their first child, their only daughter
They returned to St. Thomas in about 1926 at the request of the West
Indian Company, who found they greatly missed John Gotterup. Soon
after, the couple settled into their home on Blackbeard's Hill and, over the
next six years, added three sons to their family Philip, John and Poul. It
was an unfortunate twist of fate that ended this happy period in Pakie's
life her beloved husband John died on April 1, 1933.
This young widow and mother of 4 very young chidlren, now the sole
support of her family, had to search within herself for the resources which
would sustain them throughout their lives. That previously mentioned
backbone and intelligence became her most important qualities from that
time forward. Within a year of her husband's death, Pakie became a
working woman, starting a career at Public Works that continued for 31-
1/2 years. During that time she worked her way up the ladder, finally
achieving the position of Chief Clerk, which she held until her retirement
Although much of her time and energy was spent earning a living,
Pakie still managed to be an excellent mother. Her children have all
become a credit to society one is a sculptor with work displayed in the
Smithsonian Institution; another retired after 20 years in the U.S. Airforce;
one followed in his father's footsteps, attending the same electrical engi-
neering college in Denmark; another has retired from a career with a
subsidiary of Ford Motor Corp. She did a good job.
After retirement Pakie was finally able to spend some time at enjoyable
pursuits. She was an avid and successful gardener. Her garden was
veritable Eden, full of her speciality maiden hair ferns, glorious hibiscus
and orchids. She was also a voracious reader who liked nothing better
than relaxing with a good book after the day's more physical activity. And
beside her while she gardened or read would be one of her faithful
companions. Pakie loved her dogs and they loved her. Popsicle and late
Suzie were as much a part of her life as her children and grandchildren.
Pakie always marched to her own drummer and stayed young at heart
no matter what changes the years wrought physically. At the age of 88, an
age when most are content with their memories, Pakie continued to add
to hers she was the matron of honor at the wedding of three generations
younger Dawn Makin to Patrick Beretta a testimony to her agelessness
in everyone's eyes.
Pakie may be gone now but without a doubt her spirit is still close by.
Life on Blackbeard's Hill wouldn't be quite the same without her. So, of
an evening, when you turn the corner at the big stone wall across from
where Pakie's house stood for so many years, look carefully the figures
may be indistinct but they are there, at least in your mind's eye and
remember ... Pakie and Popsicle always did enjoy their last walk of the
Philip Gotterup, John Gotterup, Poul Gotterup
Michael and Mark Baron, Judy DeBon,
Maria JoAcin, Kaj Gotterup, Sandra Rieg,
Karen Gibbons, Theresa Avila, John Gotterup
Rene DeLagarde, Ashrae DeLagarde
Ritza Salser, Zaida Leone
Order of Service
ENTRANCE HYMN ......... What a Friend We Have In Jesus, #326
FIRST READING: Wis. 3:1-9 ................ Marta Francois-Bellot
RESPONSORIAL PSALM: Psalm 23 ........ The Lord Is My Shepherd
SECOND READING: Rom. 6:3-9 ................... Betsy Beretta
THE HOLY GOSPEL ......... ....................... Celebrant
THE HOMILY ................................ .. Celebrant
OFFERTORY HYMN ....................... Amazing Grace, #96
PEACE HYMN ................. Let There Be Peace on Earth, #528
COMMUNION HYMN ................... Blessed Assurance, #107
MEDITATION SOLO: Ave Maria ..................... Faye Moon
RECESSIONAL HYMN ................. How Great Thou Art, 105
Pakie... We think of you as resting from sorrow and tears in a place of
warmth and comfort where there are no days and years. We think of the
years gone by, the ones spent with you, and we remember the times
shared. We know the years were long and sometimes hard. May you rest
Your loving children, Bertha. Philip, John and Poul
Maria (Paquita) Gotterup was born in St. Thomas Sept. 22, 1905. 1
knew her well. We grew up together in small town surroundings where it
seemed everyone knew everyone else.
We attended the local Convent School run by Belgian nuns. Paquita
was a good student, attractive and well figured. She was known for her
good character and strong personality.
Paquita was hardly twenty when she married John Gotterup, a hand-
some young Dane who had come out from Denmark to work for the West
Indian Company. It was a good marriage. Before long there were four
John and Paquita loved the outdoors and every holiday was an occasion
for a family camp out. How well I remember going freshwater shrimping
with them in a stream in the hills overlooking Morning Star Bay. When
the shrimp were caught, Paquita was there with the cooking utensils.
Limes from a neighboring estate added to the delicious flavor.
On that fatal day, April 1, 1933, we were to go on a fishing trip ofl
Thatch Cay. At the last minute, I could not make it. Imagine my shock
when I heard that in attempting to rescue a young girl who had fallen into
the rough sea, John Gotterup had lost his footing on the rocky Thatch Ca)
shoreline and had drowned.
Paquita's life was turned from happiness to heartache and sorrow.. She
displayed great courage in facing up to the bleakness of life and the task ol
raising four children. She faced great difficulties but she surmounted
them. She went to work and became a vital force in the running of the St
Thomas Public Works.
In her fading years, Paquita was dealt a heavy blow by Hurricane
Marilyn which completely destroyed her house.
Maria Paquita Gotterup died at the age of91, loved and respected by all
who knew her.
Mr. Poul Gotterup ... Today I join my family in mourning the passing
of your mother, Mrs. Maria Gotterup.
Those of us who knew this loving mother and devoted public servant
express our appreciation to her life of service to the people of the Virgin
Islands. As her co-worker in the Department of Public Works during
1965 and 1966, I recall her tireless dedication to duty. Indeed, her
outstanding public service was rendered many years before and after my
tenure with her.
As we mourn her passing we know that you and rest of your family will
find comfort in the knowledge that your loss is shared by all of us, and
that, as you recover from this moment of grief, you are not alone.
May she rest in peace.
Verne A. Hodge
Territorial Court of the Virgin Islands
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