Obituary of Kemal Akol
Kemal John Akol, always known as Kem, died suddenly in his home of an apparent heart attack on March 26, 2018, at the age of 62. Although he had been diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy for several years, he was still fit and training regularly.
His father Haluk Akol was an immigrant from Turkey. He was an architect and engineer. He married a California native, Doris Downen who was a teacher. Kem was their second child, born in Berkeley, California, on March 11, 1956. When Kem was in middle school, the family moved to Lafayette, CA. Kem later attended Acalanes High School where he lettered in Water Polo, Swimming and Wrestling. Kem graduated from UC Davis with BA in Agricultural Economics in 1980. In college, he was on the Water Polo Team throughout his tenure. Dave Scott was the Captain of the team and was formational in the direction of Kem’s future involvement in triathlon. In college, he also met Kelly Griffith whom he married one week after graduation.
After college, Kem became a triathlete in earnest. He trained and competed throughout his life in triathlons, swimming and bicycling events, including more than 30 IronMan Triathlons throughout Canada, Europe, the US including the Championships in Hawaii. He was an avid bicycle advocate and served on the Bicycle Committee for the Santa Cruz Regional Transportation Commission for many years. He served as the Director of the Santa Cruz Sentinel Triathlon for many years. He was a mentor and friend to all who loved cycling and triathlon.
Although Kem’s dedications to his sports endeavors were considerable, he also found time for his occupations as construction worker (Journeyman Carpenter), licensed general contractor, real estate agent and real estate developer. Kelly’s veterinary training took the couple to Southern California, Philadelphia, and finally settling in Santa Cruz in 1990. Kem built houses and worked for several real estate brokers during his 28 years in Santa Cruz. He worked for Bailey Properties for the past seven years.
Kem leaves behind his loving brother Dan Akol of Lafayette, an architect; his wife Kelly Akol, internal medicine specialist at Pacific Veterinary Specialists; and his son Tanner, 24, sports trainer and soccer player.
A celebration of life will be held at the George Washington Grove/ Forty Thieves Picnic Area of DeLaveaga Park, on Friday, April 27, from 11 am – 1 pm with a Memorial bike ride.