Beloved West Bank bouncer Big John dies

Uche Iroegbu

Uche Iroegbu

For 15-plus years, the Twin Cities' Best Bouncer, "Big" John Duhart, worked the door at Palmer's, America's Best Bar

Duhart died peacefully Saturday in Minneapolis, according to his daughter, Nicole Bradley. He was 66.

"Everyone knew of his sweet spirit and loud, burly voice," she says. "He could stand from one side of the street and yell your name and the entire neighborhood could hear him; he was the funniest guy, always made you laugh no matter what the mood was like." 

Patrons of Palmer's have similarly warm memories of Big John, a native Chicagoan who worked as a general manager at Ken's Foods and operated his own cleaning business after moving to Minneapolis in the late '80s. The dive bar's Facebook page is currently being flooded with remembrances of Big John, who retired from bouncing a couple years ago.

"Bye bye Big John," Aimee Tuskey wrote. "Thanks for making sure I was safe getting home on many, many occasions."

"Goodbye Big John," added Raymond Lowey. "Only door man I ever tipped, because he was Big John."

Big John's sister, Karen Duhart, says her brother felt the love from the West Bank community.

"He worked all his life," she says. "He was beloved by everyone."

That includes City Pages: Big John won our Best Bouncer award in 2012. 

"He's just as smooth as silk," former Palmer's owner Keith Berg told us at the time."He has a way of disarming people in a very nonthreatening way; we don't want the violence. Plus, he's huge."

Funeral arraignments for Big John are currently in the works. Bradley has launched a GoFundMe campaign to help with the costs.