Deacon Kiesel Passes at 93
(picture of Scoop with Father Raney)
"When he shall die, Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine, that all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.”
~ William Shakespeare
In what most will say was the fitting end to a man who once was a fisherman and who became, literally, a 'fisher of men', Deacon Charles 'Scoop' Kiesel left this earth on Christmas night. For those who may not know, Scoop, during his 93 years that we were graced with his company, was an icon on this island - beginning with the fact that he and his family helped give birth to our local shrimping industry and ending with his enormous impact on Christians and non-Christians alike via his ministry at the Church of the Ascension. In between, there are so many lives he affected that words cannot do justice...
Charles Kiesel was born in 1920 in the state of New York. He first came to our emerald shores in 1950 as a fisherman with his brothers, Hilbert and Donald, and quickly found himself a place in island legend when Donald saw an opportunity in a chance discovery made off the coast of Key West - Gulf shrimp. Over the last 60 years, Scoop's name would become synonymous with 'Pink Gold' - as local shrimp were called then - as he would go on to parlay that chance discovery into a bustling industry that would become the lifeblood of two formerly sleepy coastal islands - Estero and San Carlos.
Since that auspicious beginning, Scoop wove himself firmly into the fabric of our island over the years as he became known not only for being the grandfather of Fort Myers Beach's first economy but also for helping so many people after he was called to the ministry in 1984. Few islanders have been left untouched by this man, who in his latter years gave blessings at any event he was asked to and told the tales of his storied life to anyone who wanted to listen. He and his beautiful wife, Lenora, remained in the house they built when they first moved to our island so many years ago, and the family they started has grown to encompass generations, all nurtured by Scoop's wisdom and guidance.
The Sand Paper has run countless stories of Scoop's amazing tales over the years, and it is with heavy hearts that we bid goodbye to an old friend. Perhaps the best way to do it is with his own words - the following excerpt is from an interview conducted in 2009:
"I’ve made so many friends and met so many wonderful people,” Scoop told us then. "I hope I’ve touched a few in return.”
May those countless 'few' be Scoop's legacy.
Keri Hendry Weeg