A celebration of life is set for the restaurateur and former county commissioner who devoted his time and energy to a community he loved. 

More than a month has passed since news spread of Mike Forster’s passing after a battle with COVID-19. A community grieving with the loss in the days after took time to place flowers outside his cafe. Others posted heartfelt messages on social media of Forster’s impact on their lives. 

A number still honor Forster in various ways. On Facebook, Forster would post influential messages every morning. And some still carry on that tradition.  

On Saturday, Oct. 23, at 3 p.m., friends and those who considered Forster close family will have the opportunity to honor and remember Forster on Florida Bay. 

People can join in the remembrance by meeting behind Mangrove Mike’s. People are encouraged to bring flowers to toss into the bay in honor of Forster. A spreading of ashes will then follow to remember Forster, whose nirvana was fishing in the Everglades. 

“Certainly everyone expressed a desire to be able to honor him and have some type of service for Mike,” Pastor Tony Hammon said. “I think this is good to have a gathering out on the water in Islamorada in the general area of Mike’s restaurant. It gives everyone, including Mike’s staff at the cafe, the chance to get out on the boat and remember Mike.”

Hammon added that there will be a virtual tribute for Forster on Thursday, Oct. 21, which would have been his 62nd birthday. Those who have a short video clip of Forster can send it to Hammon at [email protected]. A larger, live celebration will be at a future date. 

To honor Forster’s memory, a foundation board will be created to continue his legacy of serving the entire Keys community. Donations can be made to Mangrove Mike’s Endeavors Paying Forward, P.O. Box 1459, Islamorada, FL 33036. To support his efforts in Uganda, donations can be made in his memory to Island Community Church, 83250 Overseas Highway, Islamorada, FL 33070, or via Donations can also be made to United Way of Collier and the Florida Keys and Florida Keys Healthy Start Coalition.

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Jim McCarthy believes in community reporting, giving back and life on the water. A workout fanatic, diver and a bogey-golfer, Jim loves chicken wings, Marvel movies and sports.