Tuesday, February 25, 2014
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John de Poo, a wonderful, humorous, and kind man, passed from this life on Feb. 20, 2014 in Key West. He was born on April 18, 1924, and was the son of Isabelle Anti de Poo and Dr. Julio de Poo - the founder of de Poo Hospital in Key West.

John attended school in Key West and then a military finishing school in Cuba. He enlisted in the Merchant Marine the day after Pearl Harbor Day and served throughout World War II on ocean-going tugs and tankers. At the conclusion of the war, and just 2 weeks after arriving home to Key West, he was drafted into the U.S. Army, serving an additional 2 years as an instructor. To make his father proud, he then attended college to become an anesthesiologist. During his schooling, while serving a grueling internship in the morgue, he realized that his life's goals were leading him in a different direction.

He then worked at the 'Navy Yard' in Key West, was a Deputy Sheriff with Sheriff John Spottswood, and was elected to and served as a Key West City Commissioner.

He led an adventurous life, windsurfing, hang-gliding, high-diving, and trying anything that would satisfy his daredevil spirit. At one point he swam the entire width of a river in Northern Florida as he was stranded and needed to get to the other side. He was so creative, that it is hard to mention all the things he could do, but he sculpted, played numerous musical instruments, acted in over 30 plays, painted, and crafted many unique but functional items for his own home as well as those of his friends. He was a highly skilled craftsman who built homes, decks, crafted furniture from driftwood, and built sailboats and catamarans.

Because of his unique storytelling abilities, he was often asked to do public speaking and emcee charity auctions. He was well known for his complex practical jokes, zany annual photo cards, and that devious twinkle in his eye.

In the 1970's, John started splitting his time between Long Island and Key West while traveling extensively throughout the world. He was an enthusiastic adventurer, who had an eye for detail, and a unique philosophy of life, which was "Less is More." He provided humorous commentary for his many friends and was known to all as a master storyteller.

He served as a father figure to many people, teaching teenagers building trades, windsurfing, sailing, driving, as well as a playful and joyful engagement with life and with other people. He enjoyed teaching Key Westers how to navigate the subways of New York City and the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. He will be missed by those he touched throughout his life. His generous and loving heart made him a friend to all. He was truly the epitome of the Renaissance Man.

He will be missed by so many people, including his surrogate family, the Hopes: Leif, Erling, Nanao, Nisse, Soren, Isaiah, Luka, and Mr. Brownie. Luka, you shared such a special bond with John and there is no need to fight over who gets the recliner now.

John is survived by his current wife Lauren Chase de Poo, who is honored to have spent the last 14 years happily by his side. He was pre-deceased by his former wife Suzie Zuzek de Poo, who remained his lifelong friend. He is survived by a brother Paul de Poo and daughters Kathryn and Martha de Poo, and preceded in death by daughter Amy de Poo Preater and grandson Jonathan de Poo Gorman. He is also survived by grandchildren Shakti and Revati Assouline, Dulcinea de Poo, Kate Bentley, and Melissa and Mathew Baldwin, as well as numerous great grandchildren.

There will be a private service celebrating his joyous life on Wednesday, Feb. 26 at 5 p.m. Please email hcasas@historictours.com for details, or call Hope at 305-294-4142.