Monday, September 9, 2013

for zilla.

A few weeks ago, one of the most dear people in my life passed away.

His name was Zilla.

Well, his real name was Kerry Price, but I never once heard a single person call him Kerry. He was Zilla to all who knew and loved him. My family is among those and he has been such a blessing to us for most of our lives.

I met Zilla when I was in 7th grade, when we went to Islamorada for the first time (that I remember) for Spring Break. Zilla was a deep sea fishing captain. His boat was named "Heidi Baby" and he was the definition of a sailor - filthy mouth, ridiculous stories, incredible fisherman, and a heart of gold.

Zilla gave me a nickname the first time he met me. Zilla taught me how to fish. Zilla said the f-word in front of my 7-year-old sister. Zilla told horrible and hilarious jokes. Zilla made fun of me when the sea got the better of me. Zilla found huge fish for my dad and brothers to catch. Zilla took us his special spots on the water and helped us haul in hundreds of yellowtail. Zilla let us jump off of his boat in the middle of the ocean and go swimming and snorkeling in a hundred feet of water - water so clear, you could see the bottom. Zilla introduced us to so many people in Islamorada and helped us establish relationships that helped it become our second home. Zilla was a part of our family - a treasured, irreplaceable part of our family.

Two summers ago, Zilla took us and many members of our family and many friends out on his boat and found a special place in the middle of the ocean where we could lay Daddy to his final resting place. That was one of the hardest days of my life because it was so FINAL. After that day, there wasn't anything left of him on this earth except for his legacy, but there was no place better to have that moment -- on a boat that we had spent so much time on, with a man who we loved and who loved us. Zilla even named the exact spot in honor of Daddy and we will forever be able to go back and commune with him there.

A few weeks ago, Zilla got sick. He contracted an infection from the sea that his body was unable to fight. His daughter and grandchild and his precious Anita were all with him. I am so glad that Zilla found a woman who loved him the way he deserved to be loved - unconditionally. She quickly became just as precious to us because we could see how much she loved him.

Just like Daddy, Zilla left a legacy. I am consider myself wholly blessed to be a part of that legacy. Enjoy the fishing in Heaven, Zilla. I bet Daddy already has the best spots reserved for the two of you. I'll see you again one day.

"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." 

Some of it's magic, 
Some of it's tragic, 
But I've had a good life all the way.


  1. I heard many stories from your Daddy about Zilla! What a SPECIAL man to be so loved by the Waynick family :-D

  2. I loved reading this, it's a great tribute to amazing man. His daughter, granddaughter, and I appreciate your kind words and story

  3. Lizzie, this has brought tears to my eyes and is beautifully written. Like I told people for the past three weeks. My dad had thousands of friends and touched thousands of lives. So many that I couldn't remember all of them. However, if I remembered them it was because they meant the world to my dad. Your father and your family meant the WORLD to him. I am so glad you were able to be apart of his life he really enjoyed spending time with you guys when you came down. Once again this is beautiful and brought tears to my eyes.

    - Kerry's daughter Stephanie

  4. Beautifully said Lizzie, He was such a special person to every single life he touched and I thank you for your kind words, I know it means so much to the family, especially his precious daughter Stephanie.....

  5. Dear Lizzie, I don't know how old you are now, but you totally got the essence of my sweet brother., and it seems, at an early age. I am very appreciative of your kind and profound remarks. The only thing about fishing with him, was growing up with him. What a ride!
    It gives me so much pleasure to read the wonderful comments people have made about him and his life.
    Many thanks.
    Cindy Goldberg

  6. Dear Lizzie,

    Thank you for the kind and compassionte words about my Brother Kerry, I cant begin to tell you how much he respected your Dad Roger and loved your entire family. One of my fondest memories was a road trip we took together to visit your family outside of Nashville and having dinner with all of you.
    I know you miss your Dad,I always had a great time when the three of us fished together. I miss my Brother but its wonderful people like you and your family who help us all keep his spirit alive in the waters of Islamorada...

    Thank you Again for all that you did for Kerry I wish all the best for you and your Family