Big John always made everyone who walked through our front doors feel like they were right at home. As our head of security, Big John stood guard not only because it was his job, but because he was passionate about making Dee’s awesome every night.
From his bear hugs to his cheery greetings of “Hey Brother!” or “Hello Beautiful”, John worked those doors everyday with a smile on his face. We’ve spent the last couple days remembering the best times we had with Big John and we know you have been too.
We asked everyone to send in their best memories and photos of John, and had an overwhelming response. Below are just a few memories from the family, staff, and Dee’s regulars.
“My daughter Pearl loved Big John.” – Kevin Tsai
“ One night at Sneak’s, I lost a bracelet that meant a lot to me. I told John to look out for it in case he saw it at the end of the night. While I was enjoying whatever band was playing, I saw John and some other team members shining their flashlights on the floor all over the venue. Somehow, in a packed bar, they found my bracelet for me and returned it. John always greeted me like an old friend anytime I came there, and the place won’t be the same without him.” – Anna Wiesen
“My favourite memory is my last memory of him, when he came to his own fundraiser and tried to PAY for a “Brother!” shirt.” – Scott Scooter
“He was always gentle and kind, the number one way to do security in my experience. Big John will be missed.” – Amy Millan
“I worked at Dee’s for 3 years, from 2009 to 2012. John became instant family (like the rest of the staff), and watched over me and everyone else every minute he was in the building. If ever I was getting trouble from my tables, a mere look across the room at John was enough for him to know I needed him and he always had my back.
My most recent memory of John was last summer, when me and husband had our wedding reception upstairs at Dee’s. I have attached a couple photos of us. The other photo is from the staff christmas party in 2011. We always do secret Santa, and I drew John. As soon as I saw the brass knuckle coffee mug, I knew I had found the perfect gift.
Words can’t express how profoundly his loss has been and will be felt. He was an incredible human being, a one of a kind gentleman, a loyal friend and the best hugger who ever hugged.” – Lauren Greenwood
“ I loved how every single time I showed up to work he greeted me with a huge hug and asked about my day. I liked how he loved showing me pictures of his family, horses and dogs. He was genuine to every person he met. I know that every person who knows of his passing, felt something in one way or another because he was such an awesome person and made such an impact on so many people. He will be missed.” – Erin Maggie
“The TO music scene lost someone special. If you know Sneaky Dees, you knew him. We’ll miss you Big John.” – Raina Douris
“Much like everyone, my favourite memory of John was his hugs. When I was new to the city and met him through some of the Dee’s staff, he was always there to greet me with a “Hello Beautiful!” and a big bear hug. Whenever I saw him outside I’d always stop for a hello and a hug. He had such a warm nature and big heart, even at his fundraiser he approached me with “hello beautiful” and gave me a big hug, and it took everything to fight the tears. It meant so much that he went out of his way to give me another hug even though he was surrounded by people. I attended the funeral and am grateful to his family for allowing the public to pay their respects to such a wonderful human. My heart goes out to those who are feeling this loss the hardest.” – Jessica Real
“Someone attempted to steal a guitar from me after a show at sneaks. This big dude stopped him and saved my guitar. It was John. – Brandon Tuck
“ Since the first day I met John, I’ve always been one of his girls. From that day forward he always looked out for me, threatened anyone that treated me poorly, and above everything ALWAYS made me smile. Especially when I needed it most. He was always there when I needed a hug and a good laugh. Every moment spent with him will be remembered forever and everyday I will miss him. All of my best memories at Sneaks involved John. Love you always.” – Kory Lynn
“It was so sad to hear. John was always the happiest person and never forgot who you were. He always made my day better with his positivity and I would stop to chat and hug him even if I wasn’t going inside. All my love to the Sneaks family and Johns family, he will be missed.” – Vanessa Marie Rose
Whether you met Big John once or if you’d known him forever, his good attitude was unforgettable. Always remember Big John for being a good man and a better friend. His memory will always live on a Dee’s. Here’s to you brother!