John Brigman Hollingshead of Pensacola, Florida passed away unexpectedly on January 10, 2018 in his home.
John was a native of Pensacola and was born on September 22, 1946 at Sacred Heart Hospital. He spent his childhood fishing, swimming and spending summers with his favorite uncles, Uncle Charles Joiner and Uncle Garth Mann. His Uncle Garth taught him a love for classical music, the composer of whom John could identify upon hearing the composition. He graduated from Pensacola High School in 1964 and went on to spend his time surfing and attending Pensacola Junior College. In 1967, he joined the U.S. Army where he attended Officer’s Candidate School and became a 1st Lieutenant. He was assigned to the Signal Corp as a communications officer in the Viet Nam conflict for, as he always said, “two years, three months, and seventeen days”. He forewent R & R in Hawaii in order to hurry home to Pensacola.
John was a Pensacola Beach lifeguard for twelve years after returning from Viet Nam and was involved in competitive surfing while attending the University of West Florida. He graduated with a degree in Environmental Science and worked for the State of Florida Department of Environmental Health. He retired after 35 years of service.
The Gulf was John’s true love. He received his charter boat captain’s license in 1982 and spent all of his spare time fishing, scuba diving and chartering. He had been a member of the Pensacola Charter Boat Fishing Association and also served as President of that organization before moving his boat to Orange Beach, AL. He captained his boat to help restore the coast after BP oil spill and was an active member of the Orange Beach Fishing Association up until the time of his passing. Happiness was spending time on his boat.
Everyone who knew John knew that he loved the water and boats and could talk endlessly about these subjects; he thought duct tape could fix anything, he could be the most serious person and also the funniest, he had an incredible memory, he thought everyone should celebrate his birthday, he could name any shell and most birds and he saved everything that was sentimental or useful to him. John will be greatly missed by those who loved him.
John is preceded in death by his father, James Hollingshead; mother Frances Joyner Brisson; and sister, Jean Hollingshead Bowles.
He is survived by his sister Sue Hollingshead (Donald) Mayo, Milton, FL, nieces; Donya Jean (D.J.) Zasowski (Tony) and their daughter Esmee, Plano, TX, Dondi Sue (Matt) Schneider and their sons Jack and Beau of St. Petersberg, FL, Brittany Frances (Charlie) Odom and their children, Brook and Charlie, Cantonment, FL, and Jessica Lee (Aaron) Finlay, Pensacola, FL and Hollie Michelle Beekman of Houston, TX for whom his beloved charter boat was named.
John also remained a beloved part of the family of his former wife and close friend, Pam Windham, Pensacola, FL, brother and sister-in law Capt. Dewitt and Pat Sightler, Cantonment, FL, and niece, Cherie Sightler (Audie) Hoke. He also leaves behind a godson, Jaxson Cales, Tuscaloosa, AL, and goddaughter, Sarah Madden, Pensacola, FL.
A memorial service will be held to honor his memory on Sunday, January 21, 2018, at 2:00 p.m. at Grande Lagoon Yacht Club, 10653 Gulf Beach Highway, Pensacola, FL. We welcome friends to share remembrances about John on this occasion. In lieu of flowers, it is requested that donations be made to Emerald Coastkeeper at saveourgulf.org.