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 will always keep John close to our hearts, and cherish time he spent with us. If you would like to share a memory on John’s page, please email all photos and stories to If you would like to buy a BROTHER! t-shirt, they are $20 and can be found in our online store. Proceeds go to Big John’s funeral costs and Princess Margaret Cancer Centre Here are some of the many memories people have shared with us:

“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

“ To my brother: I miss you so much you were a loving brother and uncle to my children Alexia, August and Alissia I fell blessed that my children at least got to meet you Alexia the other day asked to face time you but you had passed the night before you have become are Guardian angel and now watch over everyone you loved and still love are family now waits for you in heaven you were a great brother to Chris and I and a great son to mom and dad You will be missed but NEVER FORGOT love you my sweet brother.”

– George Kotsiopoulos

“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.”

-Lauren Greenwood

“Whenever I think back to this moment I question if I am indeed remembering it as it was. It was such a wild thing that I could have sworn it was a weird dream but it wasn’t. It was the fall and rainy outside. Big John was draped in his huge red jacket you could spot for miles down College St. before running up to give him for a big hug. On this day I did just that and after a big bear hug, the special kind only Big John could deliver, he said “pssst pssst, I have to show you something”. He turned sideways and reached in to his pocket, and I kid you not, a small kitten the size of a hand popped its head and beady little eyes out of his pocket. A real adorable baby cat, was just chilling in his cozy pocket. He continued to explain that because it was the runt he had to keep a close eye on it and didn’t want to leave it at the farm. It was the most adorable thing I had ever seen. A big “bouncer” like Big john and a small adorable kitten in his pocket. It was in the moment I fully realized the size of Big John’s heart and knew I could always trust him explicitly.”

-Sari Delmar