John was born in Germany on Jan. 4, 1964, to his parents, Erika (Fessler) and the late Jerry Kays.
A few years later, John’s family moved to the United States and settled in Lake Jackson, Texas. John spent his youth growing up in Texas and at the age of 21, in search of better surf, made the journey to San Diego. John has been a devoted member of the Ocean Beach community ever since.
John met his wife, Troy, in Ocean Beach in 1994. The couple married on May 23, 1996 and celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary last year. John and Troy settled in Ocean Beach and started a family, welcoming daughter Brynn in 1998 and daughter Aidan in 2002.
John will forever be remembered for his natural charm, laid-back demeanor, high integrity and a simple kindness that he extended to everyone he encountered in his life.
John was also well known for his work at Merchants Postal, where he helped provide critical employment, direction and a sense of compassion and dignity to many people from the homeless community in the Ocean Beach area.
Above all, John’s greatest loves were his family, friends and time spent in the ocean.
He was a devoted husband and father, a loyal and genuine friend, and an avid surfer who lived life to its fullest.
John is survived by his wife, Troy Kays; their daughters, Brynn and Aidan; his eldest daughter, Ashley Libkie of Anchorage, Alaska; his mother, Erika Conaway and stepfather Ed Conaway of Lake Jackson, Texas; his mother- and father-in-law, Briar and Merv Luckie of Auckland, New Zealand; and an abundance of life-long friends.
A Celebration of Life memorial was held to honor John on Oct. 1. The service will take place on the beach near the end of Voltaire Street, near lifeguard tower 5, in Ocean Beach.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the “Kays Family Memorial Fund,” established to help support John’s family through this difficult time. Donations may be deposited at any US Bank location or mailed to the Ocean Beach branch of US Bank at 4827 Newport Ave., San Diego, 92107.
Donations can also be made online by visiting www.welovesurferjohn.com. The website also provides more information about the memorial and an online guest book.