CRESTVIEW — Residents have exceeded loved ones' expectations in showing their support for Mark Kempski, who died unexpectedly June 17.
Donations toward the Kempski Tires owner's final expenses already have surpassed $5,400 since a gofundme.com account for the case was started last Tuesday.
“That just goes to show you how much he was appreciated,” Jennifer Rolling, a close friend, said.
Rolling, the business' bookkeeper, said Mark's generosity and ethical business practices will be remembered.
“He would give you the shirt off his back,” she said. “He was an honest business man and one of the best friends you could ever ask for.”
Baker resident Aaron Fountain, an independent contractor with FedEx, said Mark stayed friendly, even when busy.
“We did a lot of business together for the past three years,” Fountain said. “He would always ask how things were going (with me).”
The Industrial Drive tire-and-brake business' five employees are still in shock following the 36-year-old's death.
No cause of death has been confirmed, but Mark was known to take care of himself physically; he exercised at least five times a week at a local gym, friends said.
“I haven’t even slowed down to process it yet,” said employee, Michael Commee.
Mark's two brothers live out of town; his daughter, Elizabeth and mother, Jackie, live in North Okaloosa.
“When people would find out that I am his mother, they would often tell how lucky I am,” Jackie said. “It happened to me all the time.”
In addition to donating toward funeral expenses, customers have shown support by volunteering with business operations.
One regular customer offered to help run the front office; other customers have remained patient while the business temporarily closed following Kempski's death, Commee said.
The business, which re-opened Thursday, will remain in operation, Rolling said.
After all, she said, “Mark would have wanted his community to continue to be served."
HOW TO HELP
Visit www.gofundme.com/af7abg to donate toward Mark Kempski's final expenses and express condolences
Want To Attend?
Mark Kempski’s funeral service is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 28. Visitation for family and friends begins at 10 a.m., followed by a funeral service at Central Baptist Church, 951 S. Ferdon Blvd., Crestview. Davis-Watkins is handling arrangements. The family asks that donations, in lieu of floral arrangements, be made toward funeral costs.