Key West’s former first lady Cheryl Hollon Cates dies of COVID-19

KEY WEST, Fla. – Cheryl Hollon Cates, who was devoted to community service as the former First Lady of Key West for nearly a decade, died on Wednesday after suffering complications from COVID-19. She was 67.

Hollon Cates, a real estate broker with Berkshire Hathaway, co-owned several businesses including Cates Automotive, and she was the 2017 recipient of the Key West’s Business Guild’s Presidential Award.

“On behalf of the Board of County Commissioners and staff, we are all beyond heartbroken at the devastating news of the passing of Cheryl Cates, wife of County Commissioner Craig Cates,” Monroe County Mayor Michelle Coldiron said in a statement. “How deeply Craig cares for his family has always been evident, Cheryl being the light of his life, second only to the love of his daughters. We pray for their strength and recovery as they mourn their loss.

“As our chain of islands grieves, the Monroe County BOCC and staff conveys continual support, prayers, thoughts of hope, and encouragement for the Cates family.”

The Key West Citizen first reported Hollon Cates’ death.

Hollon Cates was born in Jacksonville and moved to Key West when she was 2 years old. She wed her high school sweetheart, Craig Cates, in 1971. He served as Key West mayor from Oct. 1, 2009 to Nov. 19, 2018.

Local 10 News’ Futures Planner/Assignment Desk Editor Kerry Weston contributed to this report.

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