Originally from Kingsport, Tennessee, Kevin began his journey to St. Augustine on March 12, 1982. At 19 years old, he was a bit on the wild side, so his mother sent him to live with his aunt and uncle, in the hopes that they could get him to settle down. Before long, though, Uncle Glen was suggesting to Kevin that he find his own place. “I was a bit of a wild child,” Kevin laughs.
He got his nickname after arriving in the Ancient City, when Eddie Murphy, dressed as Gumby, would defiantly tell people “I’m Gumby! Nobody messes with Gumby!” on Saturday Night Live. Kevin was given the moniker when he would dance on the tables at Scarlett O’Hara’s and proclaim “Nobody messes with Gumby!” to the bar manager as they tried to get him to stop. “I’ve been in this town 35 years and a lot of people still don’t know what my real name is.”
Gumby’s first job in St. Augustine was at Scarlett O’Hara’s. He worked there from 1983 until 1998, and he served in just about every position they had. “I was always there in some capacity during those years, just not always in the same role.” He was also a bit of a fixture at the old Mill Top Tavern from 1995 to 2005. But, after losing his wife to breast cancer in 2003, he began to consider leaving the business altogether. “I needed a change. I needed a break. I had to get out of that whole bar scene. So in 2005 I just stepped away from it all.”
In the following ten years, Gumby says he found out what he could and could not do. There were jobs he really liked, but they didn’t pay much money. Eventually, he decided to get back to the business he knew best and where he knew he could earn a living. He found himself back at the Mill Top, this time as a server, which was a bit of a departure from the time he spent there behind the bar. “And then I was just starting to find my groove and make some money when it all went ‘POOF!’, the Mill Top Tavern was torn down and Gumby started scrambling again to find employment. He ended up at Henley’s Steak & Seafood until a friend told him about a bartender position which had come available at The Beachcomber, where Gumby started working part-time. While Henley’s was his primary job, it was clear that The Beachcomber held an attraction for him. Gumby says “Eventually, I made the decision to let the Henley’s job go and come out here to the beach.”
Over the years, Gumby has seen the “party bar” atmosphere on the deck at Scarlett O’Hara’s, the live music focus of Mill Top, the restaurant vibe of The Beachcomber. Now, in his mid-50s, he’s happy to have settled down from his early days in the industry and considers The Beachcomber home. When Beachcomber owner Danielle LeClair is asked what she enjoys about having him on staff, her response is quick and without qualification: “Everything. Just everything.” Danielle admired the loyalty he had to Henley’s when she first offered a job at The Beachcomber. “I saw his dedication to them, but I knew he’d be a lot happier at the beach!”
“I have to tell ya the truth,” says Gumby. “The scenery ain’t bad.”