God looked around in his garden and said, “Oh this one spot if lifeless with no joy or spirit!” and so he chose to put Johnny there to liven up the place and put smiles on all who are near.
John (aka Big John, New York John, Uncle John, Mr. John, Johnny Boy) was born in Queens, New York on Feb. 15, 1964 and passed on Sept. 7, 2021 at home in Stockton, Georgia.
John lived in New York until he was a young teenager when he moved to Big Pine Key in Florida with his family in 1982. He resided in Big Pine until recently, moving to his dream location in Stockton, Georgia in 2019. He loved his 9 acres of land, his home, family and his friends and neighbors there in Georgia. He passed where he loved it most; at home in Georgia.
John was a big guy, with a big heart, who ran heavy machinery for a living. He could make those machines dance and turn on a dime — no joke. His pride and joy job was helping to build the Blue Origin Rocket Factory on the Space Coast. This was the ultimate job because not only did he run the machines but he did so with his niece, Monica, who works for Blue Origin. Family time on a job site; doesn’t get much better than that.
Being an outgoing person since he was a child, he made friends easily wherever he went. His mother recalls all of his love and appreciation, all the memorable things they did together; his first pizza, first “Star Wars” and his first haircut at the Italian barbershop on 5th Avenue, Bay Ridge.
Johnny found the joy, all of it. He found joy in the small things, but in big ways. He shared his joy — and it was contagious. To know him, and his radiant smile, meant knowing his epic stories, his phenomenal chicken noodle soup, “Star Wars,” birds, trees, shooting guns and candles. He had the yin and the yang of life. In this way, with all his inspiration for life, we can honor him by finding the joy and sharing it with the people that we love and care for.
John is preceded by his loving mother, Marjorie R. Passika, sister Lena R. Bertram, younger brother Walter Passika and niece Monica Rae Bertram. We will miss him dearly, but we know he is always right here in our hearts and God has him safe, sound and happy.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center in Tavernier, Florida.
A Celebration of Life/Memorial Service will be on Saturday, Nov. 13, at the Ramrod Swimming Hole at 6 p.m., where John went every night for sunset during his Big Pine days.