Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Big John

My great uncle John Steinert, known by us as Big John, or to his friends, Honest John, passed away this weekend. He was 90.

He lived his full life in Woodhaven, Queens and played football and baseball (with Yankee Phil Rizzuto) in high school. John earned several medals for his WWII combat in Normandy, Ardennes (the 'Bulge') and North Africa, and raised three kids on his own after his wife died tragically too young. Despite this, he was the image of jovial, always in good spirits and with a smile. He enjoyed walks in Forest Park, was a city man through and through, even introduced us suburban kids to real city block parties.

He's the littlest one in this photo of my great, great grandfather's saloon in Williamsburg, Brooklyn long before it was cool.

You will be missed.


  1. I'm sorry to hear about your loss. He sounds like a very interesting man. I love the old photos. They are great. I like the photo of the Williamsburg store front. Do you happen to know the address? I used to work in Williamsburg on South 2nd Street. I wonder if this storefront facade is still there.

  2. The bar was at 187 Meserole, you can see the number above the door. My friend lives on South 2nd St. Where did you work?

  3. Thanks Frank. A very nice tribute and great photos. I was just saying to dad I have no photos. Just as you said and as I remember he always had a warm smile for us and jovial. He'll definitely be missed.


  4. I love that second baseball picture. He looks so happy. I'm sorry.

  5. I worked at Porto Rico Coffee & Tea's warehouse on South 2nd and Driggs when I was in between jobs. I worked on coffee packing and distribution. They have some great freshly roasted coffees!

  6. Hi Frank,

    Thanks for doing this since I wasn't able to attend anything. Where did you get the pics, Grandma? I really like the last picture of him sitting on the bench. If you have more pics, send them, via email is fine since I'll be saving them on the computer.

    You guys probably don't remember but I used to go to Woodhaven with Pop on Saturdays when I was pretty young and Big John always had Yodels for me. Was quite an adventure when I was little.


  7. You got yodels, no fair!

    You can just right click these photos and save them to your computer. But if you look closely, you can see my camera lens in the picture. I photographed these at the wake. They were covered in glass. There were more, but these came out the best. I think they all belong to Nancy, John's daughter.

  8. I was so sorry to hear of John's passing. I have many memories of him and I appreciate the pictures frank. thank you for the memorial for those that could not attend.


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