Bruce Cermak, 62, passed away early Saturday morning, July 2, 2016, following a long illness. Best known as the owner of the Surf Club located in downtown Fort Myers Beach for many years prior to its sale in 2014, Bruce was a popular and much-beloved Islander, known for his kindness, generosity and community spirit.
Beginning in the late 1980’s, Bruce became an Island legend, first at the original Surf Club site where the Mermaid now sits, then at the canal-side location when he moved there in 2009. He worked in the food and beverage industry from the time he was a teenager, starting with his brother and sister-in-law in Illinois. Prior to that, he would help his uncle when he came to the beach during school breaks, doing prep work in the kitchen. When he moved to Fort Myers Beach full time in 1988, he went to work at the Surf Club his family owned. He would later become a partner and eventually buy the family out in 1997. After several years of health challenges, he sold the Surf Club to Ron Yankey in October 2014, so he could focus on his health and spending time with family and friends.
In January 2014, Cermak’s well-known humanitarianism was recognized when the Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce honored him with the Petro Award. Established to honor those residents who exemplify ‘what the beach is all about,’ Cermak’s generosity and participation in community events was recognized by the Island business community.
In addition to his Surf Club, Bruce was a charter member of the Times Square Merchant’s Alliance and one of the founders of the Island Sand Paper in 2000. He was also instrumental in hosting the Cardboard Boat Races and the Turkey Testicle Festival.
Whether it was his Wednesday meat loaf recipe, his love of champagne, his willingness to listen and help or his gentle spirit, Islanders will surely miss Bruce Cermak.
Bruce leaves behind a much-loved son, Kyle. He is survived by siblings George (Susan) Cermak, Sheri (Harold) Hardy, Scott (Kathy) VanSelow, Doug (Norma) VanSelow and Judy VanSelow and numerous nieces and nephews.
A Celebration of Life will be held in Bruce’s honor on Saturday, July 30, 2016 at Junkanoo’s from 1-3pm.