Kenneth Robert Meister
September 8, 1957 – January 5, 2020
Ken was born to Marcia and Bob Meister on a typical sultry late-summer day in 1957, in Coral Gables, Florida. He was the middle child of three. His brother Mike was older by two years, and his sister Tracy, arrived six years later. His free spirit expressed itself and his lifelong refusal to be hemmed in began on day one. When Marcia was admitted to the hospital, the doctor told her the baby wasn’t due for another eight hours, or so. However, Ken had other plans and emerged within the first fifteen minutes.
He was raised in Miami and lived there continually, except for nine months in Cocoa Beach when he was sixteen, exercising his free spirit and independence, and for eight years when the family lived in Pompano Beach.
He and his family loved the ocean and fished and boated often; his cousin Rob taught him to surf at 13 and he also loved skateboarding (“he could shred the 24-foot diameter half pipe at the “Runway” skate park in Homestead”), and snow skiing. He was a musician; played clarinet, harmonica, and guitar. He was blessed with a melodious baritone voice, which he shared freely through storytelling and singing for and with friends. Ken, in his easy way, infused countless people with a love for his passions.
Family was important. His maternal grandparents’ home in Miami, on an acre filled with tropical fruit plants, pines, and a lush garden, was the site of many happy days in the yard and pool, celebrating birthdays, holidays, and meals, where frequently could be heard their grandfather, O.C., scolding the love of his life, Ginnie: “Shugah, get out of the kitchen!” These days were enjoyed with his maternal uncle, Tuffy, and his family, wife, Mary Jane, and their sons, Calvin and Kevin. On Christmas, the house was filled with friends and families. Thanksgivings were spent with his father Bob’s family in Titusville and then in New Smyrna Beach, where the celebrations continue still with his paternal aunt, Doris, her children Rob, Cindy, and Brenda and their families, as well as Ken’s brother Mike’s family: sons, Robbie and Erich, and their mother, Isabel, and Ken’s sister Tracy and her husband, Lawrence and their children, Tom and Allie and his wife Trish.
Kenny joined Trish’s family long before they married in 2015. They have spent many happy holidays, including large, joyous Christmas’ in Miami with Trish’s mother, Joan and siblings, Jean and her husband, John and their children Sean, Shannon and Megan, Kathy, Maureen, and John.
Ken’s passions, a wanderer’s spirit, and hunger for independence left him with no time to finish college and so in his late teens and early 20’s, he worked construction, first for his father, Bob, and then in Miami. He helped build the Falls shopping center and one day, after work, went into T.G.I. Fridays for a beer and soon after started working there. There, he formed friendships that lasted a lifetime and met the girl who would eventually become the love of his life and his wife, Patricia “Trish” Lyons. After Fridays, he worked as a commodities trader for a while, and his old roommate and dear friend Craig Pezoldt, lured him to The Sports Grill. From there, Ken applied his skills to automotive leather repair. He was an artist. In so many ways.
An attractive man, who in his younger days had long sun-bleached hair, clear tan skin, and kind brown eyes, Ken had wonderful girlfriends, always kind and beautiful themselves. But Trish was “the one”. They had a long friendship, having many friends in common. In 2004, their relationship grew more serious and Ken’s “walking man” heart settled down and found its home in Trish.
Ken is survived by his wife, Trish, his mother, Marcia, father, Bob, brother, Mike, and sister Tracy Hetrick.
People were attracted to Ken’s honest and open personality and infectious laugh. With no hidden agendas, he let people into his heart and worked his way into theirs, and there he stays. He will be missed, but we carry with him with us. We hear him, we see him, we feel him. We love him.
Surf’s up. Gone to catch one last wave.
In lieu of flowers, please donate plants or orchids to the family or make a donation to the Tropical Audubon Society.
Reception will follow at the home of Joan Lyons, 10200 SW 164 Terrace, Miami 33157 (the Miami Herald obituary has the incorrect address, please use this address).