Big John  Biography

John W. Brower was born to a 6-foot-4, 400 pound German father and a 5-foot Italian mother. His father, Walter S. Brower was a carpenter by trade. The family lived in a "rough" ethnic neighborhood in Asbury Park, N.J.  John attended Rutgers University, because state residents could receive subsidies toward tuition. John's major was political science. He was not the best student. He was on probation for seven of his eight semesters at Rutgers.  When some big companies came to the university to recruit talent, John attended 88 interviews and received job offers from 38 of the companies. John narrowed his list to three companies. Sears, Proctor and Gamble and The Firestone Tire and Rubber Company. Firestone offered $25 more than Sears.  He spent five years as a wholesaler for Firestone, in Newark, N.J.,  then moved on to Florida in 1972 and another tire company before accepting a retail job at Pan American Tire Co. in Winter Park.  Daytona Beach businessman Ray Kessler had just closed a business called Scotty Muffler and invited John to take over. "I opened it the next day," John said. "I got me a business with no money down. "Big John 's Tire and Muffler eventually expanded to three stores in East Volusia county. It was in 1979 that John changed his name legally to Big John to help promote his business. John served two terms on the Volusia County Council, one term as the County Chairman. "Big Talk with Big John" began on WEDG-FM 93.1 as a Saturday morning show airing between 7:30AM and 9:30AM. In 1992 Big Talk moved to WELE-AM 1380. In 2009 Big John's Goliath Radio began the process of taking ownership of  WELE from Doug Wilhite's Wings Communications. 

Big John's Sweetie
You all know a lot about me. I've been a lucky guy. News-Journal writers covered many of my exploits during 12 years on the Volusia County Council, serving as both chair and vice-chair. I was able to build, with the great Dennis McGee, Daytona International Airport which opened in 1992. I was involved in the original Ocean Center construction, rode a Barnum & Bailey elephant to the Ocean Center, served on the Serenity House Board for over 20 years, and saw a road named for me. I have done two strenuous hours a day on the radio for 20 years, earned a 30-year Ph.D. in Tireology, won Modern Tire Dealer's Best Advertiser in the World and an Addy Award, and once welcomed a quarter of a million people to the Daytona International Speedway.

But my luckiest day was in May 2003, when I met Barbara Ann Kincade, aka Sweetie. Pretty, smart and strong-willed, she liked me despite my many idiosyncrasies. Her hard work writing and polishing speeches made her a distinguished toastmaster, one who mentored others and made many lifelong friends like Jean Linder Jones. When the roof blew off my home, Sweetie moved me into her apartment, saw me through two bouts of prostate cancer, and helped me build the Big House. She counseled me on my radio broadcasts and became my biggest cheerleader. An excellent tennis player, Sweetie encouraged me to play and get in better shape, and she loved playing with Johnny, Manny, and Demetrius. A koi fish person of the year, she helped create our pond and wondrous natural garden. She worked with the Native Plant Society and volunteered at the Rose Marie Bryan Child Care Center on South Street, advocating for poor kids in the school system. Our property was honored as a National Wildlife Federal Certified Habitat, a University of Florida Friendly Yard and received a City of Holly Hill beautification award, all earned by my humble Sweetie's hard work. Her fun bridge games included Weegie, Shelia, and Alice. Sweetie loved her autistic nephew, Kevin, with her whole heart and soul. She was his No. 1 advocate when he attended Deltona High School. At home, she was his teacher and best friend, bringing him self-improvement tools and taking him to evaluations by Dr. Joellen Rogers and Easter Seals. When Kevin stayed with us at the Big House, he went everywhere with us as Sweetie loved to take him shopping and loved him for who he was, her inseparable companion. She loved her family, devoted to her two brothers, Ralph and Barry, two children Brent and CJ, four grandkids, April, Carlie, Tyler, Charlie, niece Lesley, nephews Austin, Chris, and David, cousin Duane, and great-grandchild Gabriel. Spending 18 years of life with this fabulous woman made me the luckiest guy in the world, inspiring me to be a better man. In return, I did everything in my power to bring her happiness and a really good life. She saw the best in people, spent little money on herself, and gave her entire $1,200 stimulus check to the Jerry Doliner Food Bank. Her dollars supported numerous other agencies to help anyone she could, encouraging me to do good deeds I might not otherwise have done. She fed and cared for our two giant Great Pyrenees dogs, Goliath and Major. Sadly, she struggled with pulmonary fibrosis. Prescribed steroids led to steroid psychosis and exacerbated her lung problems. My Sweetie passed away at 10:30 p.m., Oct. 14, 2021. Her care at Halifax Hospice was exceptional. They called to tell me she wasn't doing well, and I was able to get there to spend her last hour holding her hand and letting her know how important she was. I really miss my Sweetie, who had a great belief in God and succeeded in her mission to educate me about Him. Please forgive me for not mentioning all of her friends, she had so many that she loved and cared for. I hope people who knew and loved her will be able to come to Our Lady of Lourdes Dec.18 at 11 a.m., when Father Phil will perform a memorial service for Barbara Ann Kincade.
Thanks for reading. 
Over and out, Big John

Big John Passes      5-15-22
When the beloved people in Big John’s life died, he would say they "passed on to glory". John, who grew up poor and made a fortune as an outrageous, self-promoting tire and muffler salesman before turning to politics and talk radio, passed on to glory early Sunday. He was 76. “People throw around terms like ‘icon.’ Big certainly was a Volusia County icon,” said Mark Barker, former Holly Hill police chief and author of the popular blog Those who knew him best say his life evolved into one of service to others, giving large chunks of his air time to promote nonprofit organizations, while helping countless people down on their luck with money or simply a sympathetic ear. “He was a little bit of an enigma. People knew him, but they didn’t know everything about him. He had an oversized personality, yes, but he was very humble,” said Mark Reed, a friend who’s known around Daytona Beach as “Mark of the Beach.” “I would do the radio show with him quite a bit and whenever people started praising him, he would interrupt them and say, ‘We can’t talk dirty on the radio,’” Reed said. A mutual friend introduced John to Kathy Blackman, founder and president of Sophie’s Circle, a nonprofit dog rescue and pet food pantry. He was an animal lover and invited her on his program regularly for about 10 years, but John was also intrigued with the model of Sophie’s Circle, which is run without administrative costs, so 100% of its donations are used directly to benefit animals. “He was always so generous,” Blackman said. “It was nothing to him to hand me a check for $1,000 or $500, and he was always imploring people on the radio to give.”  Yet his disarming sense of humor wasn’t for everybody. “He was a polarizing guy. You loved him or you hated him. There was no in between,” Blackman said. “Nobody had a lukewarm opinion about him.” Born as John W. Brower on Nov. 20, 1945, he grew up in Asbury Park, New Jersey. He went to Rutgers University and majored in political science, graduating “near the bottom of his class,” according to a story in the News-Journal archives. John was proud to have written a 50-page paper analyzing parking problems on the campus, and though he got a D on the paper, it was the impetus behind the construction of two parking garages, he said. John was hired by Firestone Tire Co., and later took a job at Pan American Tire Co. in Winter Park. He didn’t go to graduate school, but joked that his career gave him a PhD. in “tireology.” By 1977 he found himself jobless with his only money a jar of 50-cent pieces. But Daytona Beach businessman Ray Kessler had just closed a muffler shop and invited John to take it over. Big John’s Tire and Muffler eventually expanded to three stores. His success was in part due to radio and television commercials, including one where he wore a bridesmaid dress, reclining on a sofa with dirty white socks, saying he doesn’t cheat his women. His ads won awards, including Modern Tire Dealer’s Best Advertiser in the World. Widely credited as a marketing genius, he changed his name to Big John in 1977. That angered his father, Walter S. Brower, who had moved to Flagler Beach. Reed said John was not close to his parents, but helped support them financially. Nearly 40 years ago, Barker was a young police officer in Holly Hill and said he learned someone had attached a string to a pair of shock absorbers inside Big John's store, which he dubbed “The Lubratorium.” The string was run out the window, and Barker decided to watch overnight to see who would attempt to steal the shocks. It turned out to be an employee. “I arrested the guy and I called Big,” Barker said. “Rather than be upset, as anyone would have been at someone in their employ stealing from the business, Big was more concerned about why the guy did it. What had befallen his employee and reduced him to this? “It was that kind of compassion,” Barker said. Politics was in Big John’s blood, and he decided to springboard into local government, running for the Volusia County Council and winning his first term in 1984. He would serve two terms before being defeated in 1992, then reemerged on the council from 1998 to 2002. He also made an unsuccessful bid for Holly Hill mayor in 2012, finishing third in the primary, with Roy Johnson the ultimate winner. As a candidate, John assumed the façade of a blue-collar worker, always wearing a blue work shirt with his name stitched on the breast. Deanie Lowe, a former county councilwoman who first ran the same year as John, recalled meeting him for the first time at a candidates’ forum at what was then known as Daytona Beach Community College. “He had on his work uniform and I thought, ‘This guy is running for the County Council and he looks like that?’” Lowe said. “But he knew all of the issues and had plans for taking care of the problems and was an outstanding speaker. I thought, ‘OK, if I could, I would vote for him.’” Once elected, John could antagonize fellow council members as well as some of the people who came before the council. “One of the funniest things: You would have these high-powered attorneys representing their clients giving a presentation. When he was the chairman, John would say, ‘Wait a minute. Back up. Let me look at your shoes.’ He would make fun of them for wearing shoes with tassels,” Lowe said. “It brought them down to scale.” On the other hand, she said, John would see a citizen struggling in what might have been their first time speaking in public. “He would be so kind. He would say, ‘Breathe deeply. You can do this.’ He could make them feel right at home,” she said. One of John’s passions was transportation policy. His voice was the loudest advocating for the widening of Nova Road from two to four lanes from Ormond Beach to Port Orange, friends said. John was part of a small group that steered the $46 million expansion of the Daytona Beach Regional Airport in 1992. “We would not have Daytona Beach International Airport were it not for Big John,” said Gary Libby, the retired executive director of the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Daytona Beach. Libby said John also took an interest in supporting the arts, working with him to develop an art-in-public-places program at the airport, and later, in helping to steer the county toward its current ECHO program, a dedicated property tax source for environmental, cultural, historical and outdoors programs. There were times when, if he didn’t support another council member’s priorities, he would employ nicknames. Pat Northey, a former West Volusia councilwoman who pushed for the development of bike and walking trails, said initially John was opposed, as most of the trail investment was on the county’s west side and John represented the east side. He sarcastically dubbed her “Princess Patty” and “The Trail Queen.” Northey said she laughed and embraced the names, and eventually, when plans for trails were starting to be devised for East Volusia, as well, John became a backer. “Big always had, whether you agreed with his approach — and he could be sometimes difficult in that approach — he always had the best interest of Volusia County at heart,” Northey said. Some of his friends, including Lowe, said it was not a good idea to get on John’s bad side. Some of Volusia County’s most prominent business leaders found themselves in his crosshairs, including Bill France Jr., the late NASCAR executive and France family scion. “(John) tore him apart one day. I said, ‘How can you? They have done so much for this area,'” Lowe said. Big John was divorced twice and had an active social life. Rose Schumacher, who later became executive director of the Holly Hill Chamber of Commerce, met John at a United Way function and, in him, found someone with a similar sense of humor. “I don’t care who I insult,” Schumacher said. “He told me he had been married two times and he was never getting married again. And I said, ‘I’m sure all of the women in Volusia County thank you for that.’ It took him back for a moment.” But the two became fast friends. Schumacher said her husband died in 2001. “He was the first person to call me that morning and offer whatever help he could,” she said. Then John and his girlfriend at the time promised to visit Schumacher that night and keep her company. Schumacher later became his campaign treasurer in 2002, when John lost his last County Council race to Joie Alexander. At one point, John took an interest in MOAS, (Museum of Arts and Sciences) the Daytona Beach museum, Libby said. “I believe he was single then, and he saw the museum as a place to meet people and socialize. He liked the ladies. … He was never crude in any way. Women tended to like him. They sensed that he respected them and was interested in them.” In 2003, John met the person he called his “Sweetie,” Barbara Kinkade. Though they never married, they lived together in John’s “Big House” in Holly Hill, where she helped him create a pond stocked with koi and a garden comprised of native Florida plants that was later certified as a wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation and recognized by the University of Florida and City of Holly Hill. Raised Catholic and once an altar boy, John later lived agnostically, Reed said. But in a piece he wrote for The News-Journal following Sweetie’s death on Oct. 14, 2021, John wrote: “I really miss my Sweetie, who had a great belief in God and succeeded in her mission to educate me about Him.” During his tenure on the County Council, John hosted a Saturday morning radio program (on WNFI-FM 99.9) discussing local issues and taking calls from listeners. Shortly after his 2002 defeat, Doug Wilhite, owner of WELE-1380 AM, hired John to host a two-hour, afternoon radio show. In 2010, Wings Communications — Wilhite's company — went into bankruptcy following his arrest in 2009 on charges he engaged in sexual activity with a minor. Though he was acquitted, Wilhite lost control of the radio station. John took over the marketing of WELE under his Goliath Radio LLC. His show attracted headlines in 2007 when he said of Dwayne Taylor, a Black Daytona Beach mayoral candidate: “The higher the monkey climbs, the better you can see its ass. And we’d really see Dwayne’s butt if he got to be the mayor.” John and Wilhite denied the comment was racist, though Wilhite acknowledged it was “in poor taste.” The NAACP and other organizations called for an apology. He met with Bethune-Cookman University President Trudie Kibbe Reed and alumnus Harry Burney to learn more about why the metaphor was offensive. John later said: "While I do not apologize for my views of the mayoral candidate, I have now been enlightened and seek to reconcile with all African-Americans who may have been offended by my remarks.” He also donated airtime to B-CU students on WELE. And in 2013, he donated the station and all of its equipment, worth an estimated $1 million, to Bethune-Cookman. John continued his radio show until recently, when he had fallen ill from congestive heart failure and kidney failure. Barker, who said John gave him a regular timeslot, appreciated his forum. “It was hyperlocal. If a guest strayed into state politics, he was very quick to right them and keep it hyperlocal,” Barker said. “It was an informational, inspirational forum.” He kept showing up at governmental meetings, saying that was the only way he could remain informed. He served on a number of nonprofit boards, including Serenity House.  And Reed said John was a familiar face in county courtrooms. “He would go to many first appearances to make sure someone was getting a fair shake,” Reed said. “Sometimes he would help people (bond) out on first appearance and offer them a job.” Friends shared endless stories about John as someone who adopted the persona of a common man who was successful in making people without a voice feel heard. “Without a doubt, this man gave so much back to the community that nobody ever knew about,” Schumacher said. “One woman told me he bought her a refrigerator. Another woman said he paid for her rent. He was always doing something for someone. He grew up poor, and I used to tease him about it: It’s almost like he was apologizing for being rich.” A celebration of Big John's life will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 21, at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, 201 University Blvd., Daytona Beach.

Ormond Beach Observer (FL) - Thursday, May 19, 2022

He was BIG Longtime radio host, former county councilman, is one to be remembered
He was BIG
He sat in the dim radio booth, his thick notebook in front of him, pages full of handwritten notes concerning only "local stuff." It's where Big John spent his weekday afternoons during the last couple of decades -inside the mustard yellow 1,500-square foot radio station at 432 S. Nova Road in Ormond Beach. It's a blink-and-you-miss-it type of building, depending on how fast traffic is moving along the busy road, but the same could never be said for Big, a man who inspired a variety of adjectives about his personality: cantankerous, gruff, meticulous, kind, intelligent, philanthropic. And he loved Volusia County. His "GovStuff Live" forum (he never called it a "show") was a "strenuous two hours" of radio, he said, and always opened by saying it was an "educational, informational, inspirational local forum." It was the only one of its kind in the country, he boasted, because he was trying to teach his listeners about the place they lived. "He was motivated by his love of people and his curiosity about people and our institutions, and his love for this community," said Jeff Boyle, who co-hosted "GovStuff Live" with Big during the last few months of his life. "I think he realized he was providing an important public service.. It was almost like a powerful love for the community, and that kept him going. I think also, in terms of his health and longevity, I think it was the juice that kept him alive for all these years." Big died the morning of May 15, at Halifax Hospice. He was 76 years old. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 21, at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, at 201 University Blvd. 
Born on Nov. 20, 1945, and given the name John Walter Brower, the New Jersey native was raised in Asbury Park. He graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in political science, and went on to work for the Firestone Tire and Rubber Co. before he moved to Florida in 1972. Many in the community likely remember his "lubritorium," what he called his tire and oil-change shop with its "penthouse" apartment on Mason Avenue in Holly Hill, where he lived before moving to the "Big House" at 120 State Ave. - a house that has its own website. Through the years, Big John's WholesaleTire and Muffler Co. had stores in Holly Hill, South Daytona, DeLand and Orange City. He opened his first business in 1977, and was known in the community for his outlandish TV commercials, where he would dress up in costumes and say things that wouldn't be socially acceptable in today's society. He legally changed his name to Big John in 1979, further cementing the larger-than-life persona he cultivated for himself in the community. Mark Barker, author of the local political commentary blog, remembers the first day he met Big. As written on his blog, Barker, a former Holly Hill police chief, was a police officer at the time and was responding to a call from Big after he discovered someone was trying to steal a set of shock absorbers via a string running through an open window of a storage room. Barker caught the suspect, one of Big's employees, that night. Big, he writes, was more interested in understanding why his employee was trying to steal, and how he could help him." He
had this innate goodness," said Barker to the Observer. "This kindness that was often hidden behind a gruff or cantankerous exterior - this person that he created." BIG FOR COUNTY COUNCIL In 1984, Big ran for office. He won. He served two terms, during which he served a year as chairman in 1991 before he lost the 1992 elections. But he came back to the council six years later after winning the 1998 election, this time serving until 2002. Big was an enigma behind the dais. Rather than show up in a suit, he wore his work uniform - a blue collared shirt emblazoned with his name on his breast. Underneath, he had a tattoo of his name tag in the same spot. Seemingly the definition of "appearances can be deceiving," he proved adept at local government from the moment he was elected. According to a 1984 news article in the Orlando Sentinel, prior to his time on the council, Big served on the Local Government Study Commission of the Halifax Area, the group that reviewed the idea of consolidating services in Volusia's 16 municipalities. He was the chairman of the commission's transportation committee, a member of the County Affairs Committee of the Daytona Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, and served on boards for organizations including United Way and the Daytona Beach Symphony Society. The article also notes that he and his then-wife had sponsored a student art show, Volusia Students Create, that year, as well as the Miss Black Daytona Beach Beauty Pageant. A May 13, 2001, column from the Orlando Sentinel described a joint meeting between the County Council and the School Board where Big "couldn't sit still." "Less than an hour into the meeting, he was walking around the room, chatting with audience members, perusing the snacks and yukking it up with a clerk," the column reads. And when interrupted by a County Council member asking if he had lost his seat, Big "simply replied 'no' and went back to chatting." 
Former Volusia County Council member Pat Northey served alongside Big during his second run on the council. Behind his blue work shirt, she said, was "a heart that beat for the people of Volusia County." "Big was independent, but he also recognized that there was a need to be part of a greater team," she said. He was instrumental in some of the most significant regional projects in the county: the construction of the Daytona Beach International Airport; creation of the Ocean Center, into which, he said, he once rode on a Barnum and Bailey elephant; and the expansion of Votran, to name a few. On a personal level, Northey said she and Big connected. They didn't always agree, but she said they did find themselves on the same sides of issues often, especially when they involved the environment. Northey first met Big prior to being on the council herself. She was working on the campaign for Roy Schleicher, who was also elected in 1984 and served until 1990. She recalls having two reactions to Big.
"I was in awe that somebody could be politically powerful, and walk and talk and dress like Big," she said. "He was very down to earth. The other part of me was that I thought he was a bit arrogant back then." Big would make remarks like "you're pretty smart for a girl," and she initially took offense to that. As she got to know him, though, she said she recognized that it was his way of complimenting her without being effusive. He nicknamed Northey "Princess Patty." She never did find out why in their decades of friendship, but she embraced it. Northey saw him on the day before he died. Big's eyes were closed and he wasn't speaking, but she wanted him to know that she was there. "I said, 'Princess Patty is here. I'm here to say hello to you," she recalled. "And he just kind of shook and grunted a little bit, so I'm hopeful that he recognized that I was there." 
Big had a heart for philanthropy. An animal lover, he supported the Halifax Humane Society and Sophie's Circle. A lover of people, he also supported organizations like the Jewish Federation and Habitat for Humanity. In 2015, he sold his radio station to Bethune-Cookman University. For $1. "He didn't want anybody to know about his philanthropy," Boyle said. ".. There's probably tons of things we'll never know about." But Boyle, who was on the Ormond Beach City Commission when he first met Big, wanted to share one of those little known instances: For about a decade, he and Big would attend all of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University basketball home games. One night, Boyle remembers they saw a boy playing at halftime who impressed them, and Big went to great lengths to not only find out who the boy was, but arrange for him to attend ERAU's basketball camp. That boy is Jordan Sears, a point guard for Gardner-Webb in North Carolina. No one outside Boyle, Big and Sears' family knew about what Big had done. "The secret good deeds - gruff exterior, with a heart of hold, an enormous heart of gold beneath that gruff exterior," Boyle said. "I think only the people close to him understood that." 
Big was a man of many friends. Some of them may even seem odd to those who didn't know him beyond his radio presence. Maryam Ghyabi, CEO of Ghyabi Consulting and Management, is probably on that list. "He was a loyal friend," she said.
"I always told him, 'Don't you think we have an odd friendship?' He said, 'Absolutely, because you are so and so's wife, and so and so's sister.' So finally, I said, 'Can you just see me as an engineer and a community advocate and we leave it at that?' He said, 'But that's not fun.'" They bonded over transportation and local elections. About two years ago, they made a bet that Ghyabi recalls fondly. She doesn't remember exactly what the bet was about - she thinks it was about betting on who would win an election - but it involved hot dogs. "He loved hot dogs, and he lost the bet, and he didn't think I was going to hold him to that," Ghyabi said. ".. But I did. I said, 'No, this is going to remind you next time not to bet with me." So Big bought Ghyabi and her husband hot dogs at his favorite pub. Many people may not have realized how smart he was, Ghyabi said. If you put information in front of him, be it about water quality or transportation, he would grasp it. Barker said that Big's friends ranged from "the halls of power" right down to the homeless who lived near the Big House. People trusted him, both on and off air. "He was incredibly influential in that he had an encyclopedic knowledge of public policy, the genesis of that policy, who was involved in creating it locally, what need it met," Barker said. "He also had the ability to almost innately see unintended consequences of bad public policy." He had the ear of many in the community, a wide ranging network of people in and out of government. Barker, who was a monthly guest on Big's forum, said Big could be perceived as polarizing. He abhorred lies, and he hated the pomposity of politics. He liked to put people on the spot and see how they would react. "He would ask people their sexual orientation, and it was disarming to people, you know what I mean?" Barker said. "And I think he did that to see what type of person that he was dealing with." Big leaves behind a deep hole in political discourse at a time where Barker said the public is in desperate need of it. He worries about the future of the county, and he will miss hearing his friend's voice on the air. "What I think I will miss also is he had this eclectic wide-ranging group of callers," Barker said. "Now I will forever wonder what happened to people like Bill in Daytona, or South Daytona Dan, or Geraldo - any of these other folks that would call him just to ask a question or to talk to Big." On any given day during his last moments, there was a parade of people coming to see Big, Brower said. Big once admitted to him that his cell phone had over 1,800 contacts. "He said, 'I've had a good life and made a lot of friends,'" Brower recalled. "And both parts of that statement were 100% true." 
On Oct. 14, 2021, Big lost his Sweetie. In an editorial to the News-Journal, Big wrote that the luckiest day of his life took place in May 2003 when he met Barbara Ann Kincade. They spent 18 years of their life together. He was never the same after that, Ghyabi said. Big was struggling. She and her husband spoke with him, and he shared that he didn't know if he could make it without Sweetie, his nickname for Kincade. It was a love story, Ghyabi said. The last year had been rough on Big, Northey affirmed. In addition to losing Sweetie, he had lost his dog Major and was dealing with kidney issues and congestive heart failure. But he still made time for others. When Northey lost her husband in February, Big reached out. "He was reflective on life in general," she said. "You know, where we were all headed." Big had been in and out of the hospital five times since early December 2021. Upon being discharged for the fourth time, he approached Boyle and asked him to co-host "Gov-Stuff." About six weeks ago, Boyle watched as Big left the station for the last time. "We finished the program in studio and he wasn't in very good shape," Boyle recalled. "It took him 15 minutes before he could leave the studio and get into his car, which was three feet from the door." Boyle has hosted "GovStuff Live" since, reducing its frequency from five days a week to three. The forum will shut down permanently on Friday, May 20. There will be one more show in remembrance to him: on Friday, May 20, from 4-6 p.m. "Big did not suffer fools or pretentious self-promoters," Boyle wrote in a statement. "He dressed himself as a blue collar working man, then as a street person from the underclass, the style disguising a man of enormous intellect and substance. A gruff exterior concealed an enormous, compassionate heart. His intense curiosity about life and people never wavered, absorbing questions and answers with photographic recall. Big loved our community and all who 'live, work and play' here."

From The Ormond Beach Observer
May 19, 2022

In His Own Words 
Big wrote a message to the community prior to his death. We are publishing it here with permission from his loved ones:

To whom it may concern: John W. Brower a/k/a Big John wishes all his friends and enemies the best in their life to come. Those of who you were my friends, I hope the best for. Those of you who were my enemies, I hope you see the light. Most of us were not friends or enemies — we just had different opinions — a shade right, or a shade left.
Volusia County is a beautiful place. As I told you in my tribute to Sweetie, I really loved it. I was the luckiest guy in the world to have spent 18 years in a row with a beautiful woman, smart and sharp. She made me look real good.
Moving on to the next chapter, my best friend Reva and her current husband Ben, who have been taking care of me, will take over the Big House, and the best lawyer in Volusia County, Mel Stack, will take over all legal matters. 
I want to especially thank my friends: Chad, Mary and Mark of the Beach, for the many hours spent helping Reva and Ben care for me. Some of you will be remembered with special gifts and charities will not be forgotten (Jerry Doliner Food Bank, Father Phil's school, Someone Cares, endowment for Gloria and Ray Max and Sophie's Circle). My funeral will be done by Father Phil at Our Lady of Lourdes.

Over and Out. 
Big John

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