Cape Coral father, son, die same day, separately; owner, chef at Sea-Craft restaurant

Blaine Kenneth Elmer, 64, was the owner of Sea-Craft Waterfront Tiki Bar &…

Cape Coral father, son, die same day, separately; owner, chef at Sea-Craft restaurant 1

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Lee County: When to Call 911 (and When NOT To)

Many requests to 911 do not involve true emergencies, which overloads the 911 system with non-emergency calls.

Ginny Beagan, TCPALM

A Cape Coral father and son, co-owners of a North Fort Myers restaurant, died in separate incidents Sunday. 

Blaine Kenneth Elmer, 64, the owner of Sea-Craft Waterfront Tiki Bar & Grill in Marinatown Yacht Harbour was killed shortly before 1 p.m. Sunday in a crash at Skyline Boulevard and Trafalgar Parkway in Cape Coral.

His son, Chef Nicholas James Elmer, 28, died at his home of a medical event, according to sources close to the family. 

Both men lived in Cape Coral.

Blaine Elmer, known as “Gator” at the restaurant, also worked in real estate. He was a member and on the board of directors of the Royal Palm Coast Realtor Association and was set to become its president in January.

“Blaine was well known and respected in the professional real estate community after having served during a lengthy military career,” Caroline Boland, a Lee County Realtor, said. “He was very proud of his son and shared his warm hospitality with so many at Sea-Craft Tiki.”

A Facebook posting from the waterside restaurant said it would be closed until further notice, citing the father and son deaths.

Cape Coral restaurateur Kyle Williams, who opened Sea-Craft with Nicholas Elmer in 2019 before selling the concept to Nicholas’s father last year, called Sunday’s events tragic. 

“It just gets worse by the minute,” Williams said. “There’s a lot of rumors and things circulating around. I can only tell you what I know at this point, which is that Nick either died in his sleep from a heart attack or some other medical condition. Blaine was on his way to his house because they had planned a (motorcycle) ride together … when the car blew through that red light and side-swiped him. From what I know, Blaine didn’t even know his son had passed. 

“The odds of those two things happening on the same day are, what, one in a trillion? It’s just a tragedy all around.”

Williams, who’s an owner/partner of two other Cape Coral restaurants, said Nicholas Elmer had a young daughter who’s less than a year old. Williams said they sold Sea-Craft in part because it was Blaine Elmer’s dream to own a bar with his son. He said Blaine had experience working at The Ranch in Fort Myers. 

“They were the perfect fit up there. Nick being back of house, Blaine being front of house,” Williams said. “They were the perfect combination.”

Williams met Nicholas Elmer in 2018, when he worked as the chef at the former Redfish Point restaurant in the south Cape. Williams called Nicholas Elmer charismatic and hard working, “a dedicated father, just a great guy.”

Monday morning, Williams went to Sea-Craft to meet with management and employees. Even though he no longer owns the restaurant, he feels it’s important for it to reopen, to keep the staff employed and to keep money coming in for the Elmer family. Williams said a reopening date hasn’t yet been set. 

Sea-Craft manager Ryan McDade, posting on the restaurant’s Facebook page explained how much the two men meant:

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“I’ve been searching for the words and strength to wrap my head around this. Yesterday we lost two members of our family in Gator and Nick. They touched each and every person that walked through these doors and they both cared so much about this restaurant and everything and everyone that came with it.

To all of our guests: I can’t thank you enough for being strong with us through this tragedy, we need you now more than ever.

To all of our entertainers: Please give me a few days to work through this and I will be in touch on the plan moving forward.

To our staff: Stay strong. We have to stay strong. Together, we will get through this. I want you to know that both of them saw each and every one of you as family.”

Responses to the deaths are somber.

“So many are heart broken over this they touched this community and will be greatly missed. My heart and prayers are with you all.” Donna Eastman, Facebook.

“I am truly heartbroken and at a loss for words. I wish I knew how I could help in some way. Blaine had more true friends out of anyone I know. I am sure you are all as heartbroken as I am  I know his riding buddies will make sure his spirit will always ride on.” Tammy Workman, Facebook.


Connect with breaking news reporter Michael Braun: MichaelBraunNP (Facebook)@MichaelBraunNP (Twitter) or mbraun@news-press.com.

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Cape Coral father, son, die same day, separately; owner, chef at Sea-Craft restaurant 2

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