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William Kyle Rouse


William Kyle Rouse, known affectionately as Kyle to his loved ones and friends, was born on Thursday, November 5th, 1981, in Raleigh, North Carolina. His parents Joy Rouse and David Rouse named him after his paternal grandfather, William. Kyle passed away peacefully at his home in Naples, Florida, on Saturday, February 17th, 2024.

Growing up, Kyle brought immense joy to his mother, Grandmother Nan Barritt McKenzie, and his extended family. He spent his childhood in various places, including Raleigh, Hilton Head, and Jacksonville, where he was adored by all who knew him. Kyle cherished the frequent visits from his maternal Uncle John McKenzie, Aunt Elaine, and Cousin Gabrielle.

During his teen years, Kyle attended Allen D. Nease High School in Ponte Vedra Beach, where he enthusiastically participated in the ROTC program and the swim & dive team. He also attended Cardinal Gibbons’ High School in Raleigh. He spent summers as a Jacksonville Beach lifeguard and enjoyed vacationing on Cape Cod with his maternal Cousin Bob Black and his wife Dawn, who both played significant roles in his upbringing.

After high school, Kyle pursued higher education at Florida State University, where he excelled academically earning a Bachelor of Science Degree and socially as a member of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. As a senior, Kyle interned in the West Wing of the White House and was honored to work for President George W. Bush. In 2004, Kyle demonstrated remarkable leadership by orchestrating the participation of Vice President Dick Cheney in the FSU commencement ceremony.

Following his graduation, Kyle embarked on a distinguished career in public service. In 2005 he joined the lobbying firm of Barbour, Griffith, and Rogers spearheaded by former Mississippi Governor and RNC Chairman Haley Barbour. Kyle’s work took him around the world, where he promoted democracy, raised money for charities, and engaged with world leaders and celebrities alike, including Joan Rivers, Bo Derek, Kid Rock, and Morgan Freeman.

Kyle left Washington, DC in 2007 to work for Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s Presidential campaign and various other campaigns throughout Florida. He then became the Director of the American Red Cross for St. Johns & Putnam Counties, helping families recover from house fires, natural disasters, and training people on how to save lives in emergencies.

In 2010 Kyle accepted a position with the International Republican Institute in Washington, DC to advance democracy throughout the world. Kyle would later go on to accept the position of Director of Media and Public Relations for United Way Worldwide, handling all media relations for The United Way charitable organization.

In 2017, Kyle met Johnny Gould, in Naples, FL. They quickly became the best of friends. Kyle would later become roommates with Johnny and eventually his primary caregiver. Their bond was one of mutual respect and affection, enriching each other’s lives.

It was there in Naples where Kyle reconnected with his partner Tony Zagotta over two years ago. They had known each other for almost twenty years, having spent time in Washington, DC together. Their relationship blossomed into a deep companionship filled with love, laughter, and shared adventures. Together, Kyle and Tony embarked on journeys around the world, forming unforgettable memories in places such as Europe, particularly Italy, which held a special place in Kyle’s heart.

Kyle is survived by his beloved partner, Tony, as well as his loving Cousins Gabrielle Haifley (husband Tim), Bob Black (wife Dawn), Suzanne Kennedy; stepfamily, Debbie Rouse(stepmother), Beth and Jennifer(stepsisters), his best friend Brian Graham and a lifetime of cherished friends. Kyle was predeceased by his Mother Joy, Father David, Grandparents William and Carol Rouse, his Grandmother Nan Barritt McKenzie, Uncle John McKenzie, and Aunt Elaine.

In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests donations to a cause close to Kyle’s heart. A tuition fund has been established to support the university expenses of his beloved cousins. Contributions can be made to the Kyle Rouse Memorial Tuition Fund: www.GiveSendGo.com/KyleRouseMemorial

A remembrance of Kyle’s life will be held at a private residence on the St. Johns River on March 23rd at 5:00 pm in Orange Park, Florida, followed by a reception. For further details, please contact Memorial@KyleRouse.com.

Kyle will be deeply missed but forever remembered. Throughout his work and daily life, one thing was evident: Kyle loved people. He frequently helped connect friends to potential employers, raised money for charities, and cared for sick friends as well as elderly neighbors. Kyle was genuine, generous, kind, selfless, and a blessing to all who knew him.