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It is with deep sadness that we share John Joseph Santos passed away peacefully at his home in Big Bear City surrounded by love Tuesday March 29th, 2022, at the age of 79.5, to the day. John fought a short but fierce battle against pancreatic cancer, an insidious disease.
He is survived by his loving wife of 31.5 years Carol, his former wife Jamie, his children Joe, John, Danny, Diane, and their spouses, his grandchildren, Joe, Alyssa, Benjamin, Jeff, JoJo and Janel, great grandchild, Andrew and his sister Joanne, as well as his sister in laws and many nieces and nephews.
John was preceded in death by his loving mother and father Rose and Joseph Rezende, his bother Albert “Al”, his sisters Adeline “DeeDee”, and Rosemary. John was born September 29, 1942, in New London, Connecticut.
His father was a shrimp boat captain who had hoped his son would follow suit, but that was not to be, John had a different idea and calling. John had a fierce dislike of fishing boats, yep, he got seasick! He would regale many tales with glee about his antics to avoid going out fishing with his father.
The family moved to Fort Meyers, Florida in 1954 where John spent his formative years eating from the many fruit trees on their property, swimming to Sanibel Island and hanging out with his buddies on the white sand beaches. He had a love of cars and motorcycles; he would take his father’s new cars out for a spin while his father was fishing. His mischievous nature found him in hot water many times when his joy rides resulted in accidents.
Upon his graduation, John headed to Southern California to assist his brother who owned a Richfield service and gas station in North Hollywood. He moved on to work in construction, his true calling and love. His first mentor was Frank Ray, who shared all his knowledge and gave John his foundation. They worked together for many years building custom homes and doing all manner of construction projects. He was hired by CW Driver in 1976 where he worked with his second mentor and friend Dana Roberts. He worked for CW Driver for 30 years until his retirement.
John absolutely LOVED working in the construction industry and building things. He said, ‘it never felt like work to me, I just love it’. He would also say ‘I build Cities’. Some of his more notable projects were working on the Los Angeles Times building, Henry Mayo Hospital, White Memorial Hospital, Rocketdyne, and The Redondo Beach Library, to name just a few. Upon his retirement he and Carol moved to Montana. They relocated back to Big Bear California to be close to family in 2018.
He was known by many on the mountain as the Fixologist! He and his Son in Law Ron worked to assist many of the Big Bear residents, friends and neighbors with projects and repairs.
He loved helping people and made friends wherever he went.
When John wasn’t working you could find him tending to his beautiful yard, walking his beloved pups, or on the lake peacefully floating on his Kayak. John was truly a larger-than-life personality, who will be missed by all he knew.
Donations can be made in John’s name to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network - PanCan.org or the American Cancer Society- cancer.org. Let’s stop this insidious disease!