Kylie Steele Hawkins, beloved daughter of Brenda Hawkins and treasured granddaughter of Elsie Hawkins, Naples, and John Hawkins, Georgetown, Ohio, passed away at home Tuesday, February 7th.
This child’s path to success and joy took a tragic detour into a world of emotional pain, as she watched a semi-tractor trailer strike and kill the love of her life, Ricky Johnson, on I-75, in May, 2009.
Even as she became more drug-dependent, Kylie’s top-10 list of things to do included advocating for FDA approval of drugs being used in other countries that can completely reverse the effects of addictive drugs such as opioids and heroin. She, and her beautiful spirit, never had a chance.
Kylie was just 28 years old, but had already accomplished so much. On her way to establishing an anti-breed-specific, educational non-profit, Kylie produced a Facebook page, “For Pitz Sake” that garnered some 1,500 fans in its first incarnation. She was a dogged warrior in defense of rescuing abused and mistreated animals.
After surviving an Outward Bound Florida Keys Primitive Sailing adventure in high school, Kylie went on to earn three boating licenses from two states, while teaching waterskiing and demonstrating she was a “natural” boat driver during two summers as a counselor at Camp Chateaugay in New York.
As a student at Naples High School, Kylie played first chair string bass in the All-County Honors Orchestra; received the Naples High Scholar-Athlete award; was four-time Naples High program book ad sales winner; and was a Florida state champion competition cheer squad member.
She also became a USA Water-ski Official and Level I instructor, attended numerous Betty Bonifay work/study waterski clinics, went to Culver Military Academy and completed the Discovery Cove Train-the-Trainer program.
While at FGCU, Kylie was awarded a marine science internship with Lee County Parks & Recreation, joined the South Florida Wildlife Association, and garnered field experience in water quality analysis, oyster reef restoration at Fakahatchee Strand, Six-Mile Cypress Slough, Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, Rookery Bay, Vestor Lab, Corkscrew River and Keys Marine Lab on Florida Bay.
She was inducted into the Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society for college freshmen, attended FGCU as a Bright Futures scholar and graduated debt-free in 2010.
Kylie volunteered with the Gulf Coast Skimmers & Southern Extreme Water-ski show teams; Pilot Club Fall Council; Musica de Napoli; Music for Minors; St. Matthews House; Opera Naples; and Humane Society Naples.
She fiercely maintained her reputation as a diehard Dallas Cowboys fan, a Swamp Buggy race aficionada, hardcore fishing enthusiast and a karaoke doyenne.
More than that, she was and continues to be considered a good and loving friend by people from so many different walks of life. She was not perfect. But she loved her friends unconditionally. She was a bright, beautiful, charismatic and fun-loving individual, with a truly compassionate heart.
Finally, she was, and will always be, her mother’s light, love and little one….
Services will be held at East Naples United Methodist Church, 2701 Airport Rd., S., Naples this Saturday Feb. 18th, beginning with a viewing at 10 AM. The service is open to the public; anyone who has ever had to suffer a loved one’s addiction, is especially encouraged to attend. Please bring a dish to share and stay for the reception following in Fellowship Hall.
Donations to help defray funeral expenses for the only child of a devoted single mom, can be made at https://www.gofundme.com/funds-for-kylie