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Former Palmer Johnson head dies

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Palmer Johnson’s Martin Kelsey III, known in the yachting industry as Mike Kelsey Jr., died on Jan. 4 of cancer. He was 57. 

Mr. Kelsey began work with the company as a child after his father, Mike Kelsey Sr., bought the yard in Sturgeon Bay from his father-in-law in the late 1960s. He was a sales broker for Palmer Johnson in the early 1980s, worked for Palmer Johnson Savannah in Georgia as vice president of sales and was back in Sturgeon Bay at Palmer Johnson as president from 2004 until 2013, according to MegayachtNews. 

Mike Kelsey Jr.
Feb. 12, 1962 – Jan. 4, 2020
Photo from Facebook

The company was known for aluminum yacht construction including the 99-foot (30.2m) M/Y Fortuna bought by King Juan Carlos of Spain in 1979, the 151-foot (46m) M/Y Turmoil, and what was then the largest American-built yacht, M/Y La Baronessa at 195 feet (59m).

Mr. Kelsey is survived by his wife, seven children, two grandchildren and many other family members.

Please click for more from MegayachtNews and a local obituary for Mike Kelsey Jr.

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Dorie Cox is editor of The Triton.

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