Louis Paul Kalivoda, Jr.

GAINESVILLE – Upon meeting Louis Kalivoda for the first time you almost certainly noticed his infectious smile and that explosive laugh that seemed to rumble up from deep down in his stomach. With a sparkle in his eyes he would deliver his joyful trademark greeting: “Hi, I’m Louis. What’s your name?” This in a distinguished baritone voice that seemed to be made for radio, and which Louis cultivated early in life to help overcome a stutter. We are sad to announce that Louis Paul Kalivoda JR., loving husband, devoted father, loyal friend and dedicated community servant passed away peacefully on October 2, 2020 in his Gainesville home following a courageous struggle against a pancreatic cancer. Louis will be remembered by those who knew and loved him for his warm humor, generosity of spirit and his unshakable loyalty to family, friends, faith, community and his country. He was 71 years old. Born in Miami on May 28, 1949, Louis grew up in Palatka where his father worked for Florida Power and Light. An outstanding athlete and fi erce competitor, he was captain of the Palatka High School football team and never missed a game. “He was a moving train wreck,” recalls Louis’ boyhood friend Elliott Kane. “He attacked the lines with a recklessness that terrified opponents.” An Eagle Scout and Order Of The Arrow holder, Louis continued to work with the Boy Scouts in various volunteer capacities throughout his adult life. His two sons, Louis Paul III and Mark, also achieved Eagle Scout honors under Louis’ encouragement and tutelage. He was awarded the Scouting Silver Beaver to honor registered Scouters of exceptional character who have provided distinguished service. When he was 11-years old Louis watched the inauguration of John F. Kennedy on television, and began to develop a lifelong interest in politics and government. Recalling Kennedy’s challenge: “Let the word go forth from this time and place…that the torch has been passed to a new generation,” Kalivoda would later reflect: “I felt it was my generation he was talking about.” At the age of 15, Louis traveled to Washington, D.C. as a congressional page for then-U.S. Rep. Billy Matthews. Louis later volunteered to work for Matthews’ reelection campaign, the fi rst of many candidates he would support. He was the North Central Florida coordinator for presidential candidate Walter Mondale, and, over the course of many years, managed campaigns for such candidates as Jon Mills, George Kirkpatrick, Rod Smith, Bev Hill, Cynthia Chestnut, Perry McGriff, C. B. Daniel, David Flagg and others. “He was indefatigable,” recalls Smith, former state attorney and state senator who always turned to Louis for help on the campaign trail. “He would knock on doors, make phone calls, do whatever needed to be done.” While a congressional page, Louis attended the inauguration of Lyndon Johnson, an experience that helped propel him into a lifetime of civil rights activism. Louis would later become a board member of the Martin Luther King Jr. Commission of Florida and, in 2013, was inducted into the commission’s Hall of Fame. Louis was vice president of the student body at St. John’s River Community College before going on to the University of Florida where he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science. Choosing to remain in Gainesville he embarked on a diverse career path – first working for several years as a paramedic for the Alachua County Fire Rescue Department, then as special assistant to the city manager and, later, acting Human Resources director for the City of Gainesville. In 1986 he began a long career at Santa Fe College. Over the course of his time at SFC Louis was an instructor, counselor, lobbyist and assistant to the president. As coordinator for Santa Fe’s Institute for Criminal Justice, he was instrumental in obtaining land and funding to build the college’s Police Academy. “He was incredibly loyal, as an employee, a colleague and a friend,” recalls former Santa Fe President Larry Tyree. “He was an optimist who managed to almost always see the glass half full. I loved his positive attitude and observed it on many occasions.” Louis retired from Santa Fe in 2018 as the SFC Assistant Director, with oversight of the law enforcement, emergency medical services, and aviation programs. Despite his devotion to family, career and politics, Louis always made time in his life to give back to his community. A long-time blood donor, Louis is remembered by Life South for having made 137 donations for a total of 17 gallons. In 1990 the Gainesville Sun selected Louis over 16 other nominees for its Community Service Award, for having “performed the most outstanding and unselfish service” that year. Here is just a partial listing of the boards, organizations and causes that Louis managed to work into his life: The Corner Drug Store, the Reichert House, Citizens Crime Commission of Alachua County, Gainesville Chamber Orchestra, Community Crime and Fire Prevention Committee, Friends of Five (PBS channel 5), Statewide Task Force on Emergency Medical Services, Alachua County Girls Club, Spotlight on Youth, Girls Place, Pop Warner Football and more. Louis has been a court-appointed guardian for a Tachachale resident, and he and his wife, Carole, provided emergency shelter for children who had been victims of sexual or physical abuse. Since his retirement Louis volunteered countless hours at the Fisher House, the “home away from home” for families of patients at the VA hospital. And even as he struggled with his illness, he continued to serve on the Florida Bar Citizens Advisory Committee, in which capacity he advised the organization on how to counsel attorneys with alcohol or substance abuse problems. “He should be remembered as a generous soul who volunteered for any cause he felt worthy,” says his longtime friend Bruce Stechmiller. “Volunteering for him meant sacrifice of his time and interest. He deflected credit and praise and was more than generous giving credit to others.” An inveterate outdoorsman Louis loved to camp and hike. Founding member of the Shining Rock Orienteering Society, he led his fellow backpackers on expeditions into the Rockies, the Smokies, New Hampshire’s Mt. Washington, Blue Ridge Mountains and along many segments of the Appalachian Trail. In his younger days Louis was also a pilot and an avid skydiver. Louis is survived by his wife of 39 years Carole Ann, his 37-year old twin son and daughter Louis Paul III and Katye Kalivoda, Katye’s wife Meaghan McLaughlin, his 33-year old son Mark and his wife Jackie Pantigoso Loayza, his brother Russell Flagg and his wife Holley. Louis was a devoted Catholic. An Alter server as a child, he was a Lector at both St Augustine Parish and Holy Faith. He served on the finance committee at St Augustine for more than twenty years. In leu of flowers, the family would love donations in Louis’ name to his most cherished organizations, Gainesville’s Corner Drug Store and the Fisher House. The funeral is set for Saturday, noon at Holy Faith Catholic Church. Gator attire preferred. The service can be viewed on this link: https://youtu.be/BVgs1H2V7Qc

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In consideration of COVID-19, as well as the families we are serving, we would like for those of you whose immune systems are compromised please stay home and send the family a condolence card. We may also be forced to postpone services if this continues or worsens. Our profession as funeral directors is not only focused on serving families, but also protecting the families and the community at-large. Thank you and please take care!

In consideration of COVID-19, as well as the families we are serving, we would like for those of you whose immune systems are compromised please stay home and send the family a condolence card. We may also be forced to postpone services if this continues or worsens. Our profession as funeral directors is not only focused on serving families, but also protecting the families and the community at-large. Thank you and please take care!