John Harold Ackerman, Jr.

Born March 3, 1950 in Morristown, New Jersey
Departed May 1, 2024 in Melbourne, Florida

John Harold Ackerman, Jr. of Cocoa, Florida, died on May 1, 2024 after a long battle with prostate cancer.

Born March 3, 1950, in Morristown, New Jersey, he was the son of the late John Harold Ackerman, Sr. and Clara Ann Wilkinson. John grew up in Morristown and graduated from Morristown High School in 1968.

He had a lifelong love of music and enjoyed playing the guitar, drums, and keyboard. He attended Woodstock in 1968 and Strawberry Fields in 1969. He was also a wrestler for the World Wrestling Federation and went by the names “JJ Rider” and “Big Red,” the latter referring to both his famous red hair and his towering 6’3” frame.

In New Jersey, John worked as a draftsman and then became a machinist for Pepsi-Cola. He was one of just a handful of people in the country who learned to operate specialized bottling machinery.

His machinist job took him to Florida. He quickly took a liking to the Sunshine State’s weather and more relaxed lifestyle. His favorite poster read “NO STRESS” in large lettering.

In Fort Lauderdale, his entrepreneurial spirit took hold. He first opened a painting business, but ultimately decided to turn his love for cars into a business. As the owner and operator of Ackerman Auto Sales, he took pride in being self-employed. He could often be found at the weekend car auction enjoying a hot dog and beer while he looked for cars to add to his inventory.

In his spare time, he watched car racing and volunteered to be on the pit crew. He collected posters of his favorite racers, which he hung on the walls of his auto shop. He enjoyed fishing and always kept a fishing pole in his trunk. He treasured the tackle left to him by his father.

He relocated his business to Cocoa in 2005, where he lived the remainder of his life. After retirement, he found a loving community among neighbors and staff members at Westminster Asbury.

He is survived by his sister Marilyn, his sons Mack and Jack and their mother Joanne, his niece Melissa, his great-niece Meghan and his great-nephews DJ and Zachary.

Guestbook Entry

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8 entries.
Your Sis from Marianna wrote on May 7, 2024:
If you could hear me brother, I would tell you- Now that you are gone, lots of mostly forgotten memories from years ago have resurfaced. The wonder of a precious little brother in his blue PJs thinking that he heard Santa on the roof and hurrying up to bed feigning sleep. The cold winter day you threw snowballs at my boyfriend hoping he would go away - (You were maybe 8 then).Thinking of a picnic with a large group of your friends when you roasted hotdogs over a makeshift fire pit.You were still a teenager then. I will never hear “House of the Rising Sun” without thinking of you on guitar and me belting out the words. So thankful for the gift you left for me, i.e Joanne and Mack and Jack. It was a hard battle you endured. It is over now. Memories will live on.
Alan wrote on May 5, 2024:
Rest in peace John, your memory will be carried on by your two amazing, caring, and loving sons 🙏
Faith from Mendham wrote on May 4, 2024:
I am so sorry for the loss of your dad. Sending love and thoughts to you boys during this difficult time. Rest in peace John 🙏
Kathy Breidigan wrote on May 4, 2024:
Lots of great memories with John ... ... Bulking up for the WWF using Mack and jack as barbells one of my favorites. John was a very funny guy. Rest in peace John
Joanne wrote on May 4, 2024:
Thank you for our boys Will remember all the good times. Rest in peace
Susan and Steve wrote on May 4, 2024:
Our condolences to the Ackerman family. John has left his boys but was surely comforted having them with him during his illness and passing. May he rest in peace.
Mack A wrote on May 3, 2024:
Love ya Dad.
Amber & Tyler Rowe from Sparta wrote on May 3, 2024:
We are so sorry for your loss. John will be missed tremendously by many. Wishing you peace and comfort during this difficult time. ♥️
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