Billy G. Spikes, one of the pioneers of the Florida Seafood Festival, died last week under hospice care in Tavares.

Spikes, 83, passed peacefully on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019, surrounded by his loving family at Cornerstone Hospice-Frank & Helen DiScipio House.

While in Apalachicola in the early 1960s, during a 35-year career with Florida Power Corporation, Spikes was president of the Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce and served as the first chairman of the Florida Seafood Festival, which is now in its 55th year.

“He is someone very near and dear to our hearts as it could easily be said that if not for his vision and passion for our area, the Florida Seafood Festival may very well not be Florida's oldest maritime event,” said John Solomon, president of the festival’s board of directors. “He will be greatly missed.”

Spikes, a member of Apalachicola Masonic Lodge #76, has been past president of many chambers of commerce, also including Eustis, Lake Placid, Davenport and Haines City.

Born in Willacoochee, Georgia, he lived most of his early life in Palm Harbor. He graduated from Tarpon Springs High, where he lettered 11 times in four sports, football, baseball, basketball and track, and later graduated from St. Petersburg Junior College.

He served in the helicopter division of the US Army out of Ft. Rucker, Alabama in Germany with TAM (Traveling Aviation Mechanics) Unit. He had a 35-year career with Florida Power Corporation, in Clearwater, Apalachicola, St. Pete, Haines City, Lake Placid and finally Eustis where he retired as a district manager in 1994. FPC past president Andrew H. Hines recently described him "Billy Spikes, he's The Best."

Spikes held a real estate broker license. He enjoyed aviation, flying his 1951 Cessna 170, being head of the 170 Club at one point, proud member of Experimental Aviation Association (EAA) introducing young people to aviation with their First Flight airplane ride and certificate. He owned Mid Florida at Eustis Airport-X55 in the Eustis/Mount Dora area.

He also enjoyed being a member of the Rotary Club in each community he lived. He helped start the Dunedin Pram Sailing Fleet in the early 1960s. He spent and enjoyed a lifetime in community service wherever he lived.

Billy was preceded in death by his mother, Callie Belle Brinkley Spikes and dad William Spikes, his brother George W. Spikes, his sister Betty Jo Stewart, and his granddaughter Brandy Bly Pappas.

He is survived by his wife Yvonne Hall Spikes, his daughter Caron Spikes Myers (Danny "Chocolate" Myers) of Lexington, North Carolina his daughter Cassandra Spikes Fish (John Fish) of Redington Beach, stepson Chad Hoey (Kara) of Eustis, stepson Devin Hoey (Katie); grandchildren Alexi Pappas Miller (Seth) of Durham, North Carolina, Carter Fish of New York City, John Edward (Jed) Fish of Jacksonville, Caroline and Campbell Fish of Redington Beach, Claire and Graham Hoey of Orlando; sister-in-law Grace Spikes of Jacksonville and brother-in-law Thomas (Penny) Hall of Hickory, North Carolina; and several nieces and nephews.

A memorial service was held at Harden/Pauli Funeral Home, Eustis, on Friday, Jan. 11 at noon. The family received friends prior to the service from 11 a.m. to noon.

Interment was at Florida National (Military) Cemetery in Bushnell. In lieu of flowers please send memorials to Florida Seafood Festival Inc. c/o John Solomon, 17 Ave E, Apalachicola, FL 32320, or to Apalachicola Masonic Lodge #76, P O Box 426, Apalachicola, FL 32320.

Online guestbook available at www.hardenpauli.com