Big John was born into a family of 12 in South Buffalo, NY, back in 1916. He was devoted to Christ, went to Church every morning, and worked two jobs to support his four young daughters and lovely wife Kittie. He was my grandpa, and had a huge family with many nieces, nephews, grandkids, and great nieces and nephews (as you can imagine having ten brothers and sisters, along with four kids). Big John was the kindest person I ever knew, and God knows there will never be anyone like him again. For thirty-five years, from the time he retired until he was eighty-five and not well enough to do it, he read on the radio everyday to the blind. He read the books and told the stories he loved so much, so that those not fortunate enough to see like he could, could enjoy them, too. None of his relations or any of his many friends can ever recall him being even the tiniest bit crabby. He died almost two months ago now, and everyone who knew him is still in shock and sorrow.
At his funeral reception, right when we walked in, the song on the radio my mother danced to with him at her wedding was playing, and on the drive to the funeral home a song about "smiling though your heart" was playing. He would sing that same song when he was young. I could tell many stories showing his love, generosity, devotion (to God and his wife of sixty-two years), and never ending kindness, but then I'd have to write an entire book. Everything I do in life, I try to think of what Big John would want me to do. I know he's helping me adjust to my new school and is with me always, especially on my first birthday ever without him. He was an amazing role model that no one who knew him will ever forget.
Submitted by Anonymous
We've all had people in our lives who have made a positive impact on us. A parent or grandparent, a sibling who was there for us, or maybe even just a guy who shines shoes for a living? Whoever they are, tell us their story so they can inspire us even more.Tell Us Your Story All Everyday Hero Stories