In the early morning hours of June 16, the community lost one of the most energetic men Marathon has known. Kenny Elgersma, wife to Julie and dad to Ashley, lost his long battle with acute myeloid leukemia.
Moving to the Keys in 1978, Elgersma jumped into the fishing industry and would spend his evenings socializing with friends, when he met the love of his life Julie one fateful evening.
“I picked him up at the Brass Monkey when I was bartending there in 1979,” Julie said. “It was the best pickup ever.” The two moved away after he stopped fishing and spent time in Ft. Lauderdale and New York. After Ashley was born they moved back to the Keys in 1991.
He immersed himself in the community and his job at the Florida Keys Electric Co-Op, which he worked at for 20 years, taking pride in putting the Christmas lights up each year.
While Ashley was going through school, he and Julie were staples at Switlik’s Halloween Carnival and at Marathon High School’s homecoming, always helping with float building and numerous sports teams on campus. In the evenings, he was found keeping score for the adult softball league.
His community involvement peaked in the ’90s with Marathon’s Original Seafood Festival. “Hands down, his favorite event was Seafood Fest,” Julie said. “He looked forward to it every year.
Seafood Fest wasn’t his only event either. “My dad would do anything for a free T-shirt,” Ashley said. Th2 2015 Marathon fireworks display was dedicated to Kenny Elgermsa.
“He loved the Fourth, everything from the parade, to setting up the display to socializing with everyone at the beach,” she added.
And, standing by his side through it all, wife Julie said true love is not just in fairy tales while remembering a quick jaunt to Merritt Island’s Black Point Wildlife Drive in 2003. “A waitress at breakfast told us about a dirt road we should take, off we went,” she said. “We drove about a mile, and saw, my favorite, roseate spoonbills, thousands of them. There were clouds of pink. It was the best exploring day ever.” The two were married for 35 years.
Kenny was an explorer and loved canoeing through the canals of Boot Key on the weekends with Ashley and hunting for creatures with her at the Yacht Club and at Vaca Cut when she was growing up.
Friend of the family Joy Farris said it best when she Facebooked that the small community of Marathon lost one of the most loved members. “If you didn’t have an opportunity to know him, you missed out,” she said. “Kenny has the greatest smile, even in his harder days. He was a loving husband, father and friend. He will be sorely missed.”
His ashes were scattered on June 20.