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Juel Elaine Kamke

1946 - 2018
Juel Elaine Kamke Obituary
Juel Elaine Kamke

Tallahassee - It's hard to believe she won't be here to share another glass of wine with us! Juel Elaine Kamke of Tallahassee, Florida, took a last chance to gaze out at her cherished and lush backyard garden with her beloved cat Cirrus at her side before passing away quite quickly, Friday morning, June 8th after an extended medical illness. The only other place she would have liked to have spent her last hours, would have been on her way to St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge to photograph wildlife or to see the Lighthouse on the Gulf of Mexico one more time.

Juel was born the youngest of 3 girls, in Oconto, Wisconsin to Betty (Ingram) and Earl W. Kamke November 25, 1946. She grew up on a farm, which probably lead to her appreciation of good, healthy food, and an affinity for rural communities. At one point, Juel said goodbye to the farm and launched a colorful and diverse career, which took her to other corners of the US and to an adventurous life abroad.

Juel received her BS in Art and an Education Credential at The University of Wisconsin in Madison. After teaching high school Art for 6 years in Burlington, Vermont, Juel fomented her world view and passion for international work by joining the Peace Corps where she where she trained teachers, and worked in community development for 3 years in El Salvador.

Juel headed to Washington DC, next where she worked for the Environmental Protection Agency as a graphic artist and editor for a few years in the early '80s. She then clinched a job as Executive Director for the Refugee Assistance Center in Arlington Virginia for three years. Her next stop was as Field Director of the Coalition of Florida Farmworker Organizations in Immokalee Florida. She continued work afterwards as Regional Research Coordinator conducting data collection in the Southeast for agricultural workers in 16 counties in Florida, Georgia and Alabama. By the early '90s, she became a Planner IV, for the Florida Department of Labor and Employment security, becoming quite adept at writing State Grant proposals for federal funds worth $12 million dollars for refugee services for nine refugee service providers in Miami, Orlando and Jacksonville, FL.

After a few years at the Capital Area Community Action Agency in 2001 as a contract manager, Juel spent 10 years employed as a Grants Compliance Analyst at Florida State University in the Office of Sponsored Research Services. Before retiring in 2013, Juel was very proud of her working relationship with a diversity of Scientists at FSU across a number of departments.

Juel received a number of awards and appointments during her career, such as the Governor's Appointment on the Human Rights Advocacy Committee, District III, a Board of Director for the Immokalee Friendship House (Homeless Shelter) President and Vice President of the Immokalee Interagency Council. She was actively involved in the Returned Peace Corps Association of North Florida, where she held a number of roles from President to standing board, and steering committee member. She enjoyed several years as an ESOL tutor for Literacy Volunteers of Leon County at the Leon County Public Library.

Juel was preceded in death by her parents and dear friend Joan Losciwitz. She leaves behind her cat Cirrus; her sisters and a number of nephews and nieces especially Lara Nichols-Adam. She enjoyed an array of friends: distant (especially Radetta Nemcosky and Jeannie Busacca) local (Richmond Haire) from Peace Corps; her places of employment; dear neighbors; and beloved acquaintances from El Salvador and Ecuador.

Juel loved the arts, world music, holiday celebrations with her adopted family the Cooper-Browns, monthly dinners with her Peace Corps friends at ethnic restaurants around Tallahassee, and the green thumb of her landscape artist. A celebration of life for Juel Kamke will take place this Sunday, June 17. Whether you suffered Juel's wrath, or enjoyed her friendship, you are welcome to come share a dish and a story. Another event for Juel will take place after the new ramp to the restored SMNWR Lighthouse has been completed. Friends and acquaintances can contact Curry's funeral home at (850) 877-8191 for details.

Those who were closest to Juel in the end would like to thank the staff of The Caring Connection and Big Bend Hospice, and CHP Doctors Jagadeesh and Carlos Campo, and their staff. If you would like to make a donation in memory of Juel Elaine Kamke, please contact St. Francis Wildlife Association, Florida Wild Mammal Association, WFSU, Habitat for Humanity, and/or .
Published in Tallahassee Democrat on June 15, 2018
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