One of the most prominent and caring figures on Fort Myers Beach passed away on Christmas evening.
Deacon Charles "Scoop" Kiesel, Sr., a founding member of the Church of the Ascension Catholic Church, died peacefully at the age of 93 with family by his side at Hope Hospice on the religious holiday between 7 and 8 p.m. He is survived by his wife, Lenora, and children, Lenora Kiesel Smith (Tom) Of New Jersey, Charles "Scoop" Kiesel Jr. (Lisa) of Fort Myers, and Robert Kiesel (Colette) of Fort Myers as well as grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Funeral mass is being conducted at Church of the Ascension today (Dec. 30) at 11 a.m. A reception will follow at Church of the Ascension Parish Hall. Arrangements were made by Fort Myers Memorial Gardens Funeral Home and Cemetery. Visitation was Sunday Dec. 29, from 3-6 p.m.
'Scoop' is pictured with wife, Lenora, at an event on the Beach.
"He was known and beloved by everyone on the beach," said Jim Stevens, a member of Church of the Ascension. "Scoop was a wonderful person. He was never for a loss of words. He was called upon many times to give invocations at government and civic affairs. He was a man of God, man of all seasons and a friend of all who knew him."
Kiesel was born in New York, but had lived on the Beach since 1950. He was an active member of the community, belonging to organizations such as the Fort Myers Beach Ministerial Association, the Knights of Columbus, St. Vincent de Paul Society and the Fort Myers Beach Kiwanis.
"Scoop" was best known for being a pioneer of the local shrimp industry and a yearly participant in the Blessing of the Fleet festival.
After owning a boatyard up in the Long Island area with his two brothers, Kiesel decided to move down to Southwest Florida when he read about a "shrimp discovery" called Pink Gold. He chose Fort Myers Beach ahead of ports in Tampa and Key West and, along with his Lenora and their six-month-old daughter, stayed at the Red Coconut Trailer Park for two years before moving into their present home. He recounted that story and one about his first boat, a 63-footer named 'Coral Sands' that he purchased in downtown Fort Myers for $26,000 by sealing the bank deal with scotch and a handshake when he was the guest speaker of the Estero Island Historical Society back in January of 2011.
A deacon for 28 years, Kiesel will be dearly missed by all he touched with his stories and wisdom.
He attended mass on a daily basis and made arrangements to bring communion to those who were home bound at their request on a weekly basis. He also taught a bible class after each Wednesday Mass.
"Scoop" liked to recite a few lines of a John Masefield poem at speaking events. Those words below told of his love for shrimping and life.
"I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky.
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by."