Sam C. Meiner
1951 - 2021
BORN
1951
DIED
2021
Eleanor Meiner regretfully announces that her beloved husband, Sam, passed away Wednesday, January 6, of heart failure. Known to his friends as The Big Pig, Sam founded the Orlando favorite, Bubbalou's Bodacious Bar-B-Que Restaurant and Catering Company. He was born to Charles and Marian Meiner on December 26,1951. He is survived by his wife Eleanor and her three children David, Rachel and Sara; his brother Edward; sisters Meredith and Maryanne. Cousins Michael Winn, Sherry Van der Heym, Joy Williams, Mary Stevens and Suzanne Ackley.

He attended Dommerich Elementary, Maitland Junior High and Winter Park High School and Sam earned his law degree from University of Florida. He practiced real estate law, but his love of the restaurant business, learned from his uncle Mack, inspired him to open his chain of Bubbalou's Bodacious Bar-B-Que Restaurants. Olde timers will remember Meiners Pit Bar-B-Que in Fairvilla and Mack Meiners Country Store and Restaurant on North Mills Avenue.

Sam's passion for the ocean and marine life was acquired over the years of fishing, crabbing, boating and diving in Mosquito Lagoon near his family's historic vacation home, El Dora, at the Canaveral National Seashore in New Smyrna Beach.

Sam met the love of his life, Eleanor, on a life-changing helicopter ride to a meeting of the Chaine des Rotisseurs food and wine society, in New Smyrna Beach. They just celebrated their 28th wedding anniversary.

Since then, they have generously donated their time and food to several causes in Central Florida including the Orlando Philharmonic, the Atlantic Center for the Arts and volunteered to serve free Thanksgiving dinners to the volunteers of The Salvation Army. Together they formed a charitable organization called The Easter Bunny Foundation. Police throughout the country dress in bunny suits every Easter and give toy stuffed bunnies to hospitalized children.

In lieu of flowers, Eleanor invites you to consider donating to The Easter Bunny Foundation or your favorite charity in Sam's name.

There will be a celebration of Sam's life at a future date.
To plant trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published by Orlando Sentinel from Jan. 8 to Jan. 10, 2021.
MEMORIAL EVENTS
No memorial events are currently scheduled.
To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
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49 Entries
I was lucky enough to work with Sam when he had an office on Wall Street, in the 80's. He and his daddy, Charles and brother, Edward, taught me so much about real estate, paralegal work and so much more. I worked with him when he opened his first Bubbalou's on Lee Road. Getting free Bubbalou's food is still my favourite perk, ever! I was also working with him when he opened The Courtyard at Lake Lucerne. I remember when Sam met Eleanor and how much he loved and respected her. I learned so much from Sam and his family. Knowledge that helped to build the career I have today. Sam's generosity in sharing his expertise and passion has stayed with me and set an excellent example of how a leader should treat people. May God grant your loved one's the courage, strength and dignity to carry on without you. Thank you for everything, Sam.
Charlie Ann Aldridge
January 21, 2021
Although we haven´t visited our Florida family in 30 years we are saddened to learn of Sam´s passing. We have fond memories of our last visit when my mother Lib and father Gus (both now deceased) were alive and Sam proudly introduced us to his bbq Bubbalou business. Although separated by miles we distant cousins share your family´s loss.
Sidney & Ann Durning Dreyfus
January 17, 2021
Eleanor, I was saddened to learn of Sam's passing. His love for you was always apparent and that was a beautiful thing to witness. His commitment to living an authentic life and following his passions will continue to serve as an inspiration to many. I am certain he will be deeply missed. Wishing you peace during this challenging time.
Donna Snow
January 13, 2021
Eleanor So very sad that such a sweet and generous man is gone. I will miss him.
greg wertheimer
January 13, 2021
Condolences to the family. I never "knew" Sam personally, but witnessed his Easter Bunny persona a couple times--we bought our Easter ham from Bubbalous many times -but i certainly enjoyed his food for over 27 years, Bubblaous being the very first restaurant I ate in when my family moved to Winter Park in 1993. Over the years I took many people from all over the world to Bubbalous to give them a taste of real Florida - people from South Africa, Australia, Korea, Canada and England. When the second restaurant opened on Kirkman Road -near my office - I was able to eat their almost every week (usually on Fridays) and order catering several times a year for a large staff of barbecue devotees. through food and charity Sam touched my heart. He was one of my heroes.
edward meyer
January 13, 2021
Pat and I send our love and deepest sympathy to Eleanor and family-Sam was a wonderful friend over the years and we will miss his matchless sense of humor and that infectious smile-and all his many contributions to our community- May he rest in Peace!
Congressman John Mica
January 12, 2021
Eleanor, Diane and I were so saddened to hear the passing of The Big Pig. Sam was so much fun and of course very unpredictable. Such a generous and happy person, always going out to help everyone. There will never be another Sam, and we were proud to know and love him. You two made such a great couple, "Beauty and the Beast"! We love you and will be here if you need anything! Diane and Scott (Dog)
Scott and Diane.Meltz
January 12, 2021
Dear Mrs. Meiner, I was saddened by the news of Mr. Meiner´s passing. I consider both of you as part of my extended family after all the years I have known you from the pharmacy. I will miss seeing you both come in and visit and share stories about giving back to the community. He would always offer me those candy peanuts. He was such an amazing person with such a good soul. I wish I could have had a chance to speak with him one last time. I was lucky to have known him. Take care and if you need anything, I´m at the Conway location. Please call me.
Julie L
January 12, 2021
I met Sam in 1975 when he was at U of F Law with wife Marjorie. In the following 45 years he never changed much. The 1975 model carefree lad retained his passion for every new day and stayed game for participating in the next adventure. I spoke about my friendship with Sam at the weekly Winter Park Rotary with focus on lessons he taught by example. Sam's guidance to me worth keeping in mind: say "yes" to life and love.
Bryan Thomas
January 12, 2021
Eleanor, I am so sorry for your loss. I am privileged to have called Sam my friend. His selflessness and care for others was an inspiration to me and many others. I´m going to miss laughing with him, our great conversations, and the St Louis ribs that he would bring out of the kitchen. Everyone will always remember how great Sam made you feel, very loved.
Sam Jacobs
January 11, 2021
So sorry for your loss. I had the pleasure of meeting him years ago while attending physical therapy. A man and family to look up to. I pray for peace for all the family.
Judy L Burt
January 11, 2021
Dear Eleanor, We are so sorry to learn of Sam's passing. The memories we have of sharing dinner and laughs over the years will always be with us. You two have been the best of neighbors. Please keep in touch. Poe and Jim.
Poe and Jim Yoachim
January 11, 2021
You´ll be missed babalu´
Murray Brooks
January 11, 2021
My deepest condolences and prayers to Your family at this difficult time. God bless
Mark Boyle
January 11, 2021
Eleanor, I am so sorry for your loss and I know, were Trevor alive, he would be deeply saddened that your time with Sam was cut short. Lawrie
Mrs. Trevor W. Hall, Sr.
January 11, 2021
A wonderful man to have shared some times together. Our thoughts are with you Eleanor....Garritt and Debbi Toohey
Garritt Toohey
January 11, 2021
Eleanor, So sorry to hear of Sam's passing; he has been my dearest friend over the past 30 years. I've tried to call him several time over the past few months to see how he was doing but never got through. Please let me know if there's anything I can do. Bruce Wright
Bruce Wright
January 11, 2021
Eleanor, I send you my deepest, heartfelt sympathies. I was devastated when I heard the news via Facebook. I ferreted about and gradually got more details. You know I adored Sam - and you. Although we didn't see each other a great deal; I hope you know how very much I treasured the friendship we had. The two of you have always been so accepting of me and your kindness to me goes beyond words. I've been making misha b'rach's for you and hope you can feel some healing energy. I will keep my eyes open for details on a memorial for Sam. In the meantime, know that you are in my mind and in my heart; just as Sam will always be. Love, Meems
Miriam "Mimi" Saunders
January 11, 2021
Eleanor,
We were deeply saddened by the news of Sam's passing. He was so kind, talented and together you were such a loving and giving couple. Our sincere heartfelt condolences. Peggy and Roy Hester
Peggy and Roy Hester
January 10, 2021
I was so saddened to hear of Sam's passing. My sympathies to the family. Sam took classes in jewelry making from me in the early 80's and were friends ever since. A golden heart and kind gentleman.
Suzanne McCord
January 10, 2021
Just learned of Sam´s demise. I will miss him dearly. He was a great friend. If there´s anything I can do, please contact me. Rob. 407 256 6114
Rob Pflueger
January 10, 2021
My condolences to the family. I graduated with Sam and had a wonderful visit with him at our 50th reunion in Winter Park.
Bob Pfaender
January 10, 2021
Sorry for your loss. Have known Sam going back to our teens. Lived down the steet from him on Ololu on Lk Killarney for several years. He was a good friend and a great chef. I pray The LORD has mercy on his soul and is cooking up some great barbeque in Heaven. Buz
Earl Morgan
January 10, 2021
Eleanor, Gary and I are so sad to hear of Sam's passing. He always seemed bigger than life in all that he did, with you as his teamat-- and always by his side. He will be missed. God Bless, Barbara and Gary Sorensen
Barbara Sorensen
January 10, 2021
Sam was a valued friend for decades who always had a big smile for all who he greeted. He will be greatly missed.
Harry Anderson
January 10, 2021
I'm am saddened to hear this news. I started working for him at 18 at his law firm, Meiner & Meiner and enjoyed many years there. He taught me so much and he treated me always like family. When Rex and I got married in 1985, we helped out so much with our wedding. He had a generous heart and was kind to so many. What a beautiful loving soul he was and now he is with his dad, Charles. The two of them had a great relationship and did so many projects together. Hopefully they can help our world even more from above. Rest in Peace my sweet friend, Sam.
Mary & Rex Hersey
January 10, 2021
Deepest sympathy to the Meiner family for their loss.
Kendall McManus
January 10, 2021
I remember meeting Sam at the San Juan Hotel when I moved to Orlando in 1976. He was wearing a Haggar 3 piece suit and practicing law. This was December 1976 and we immediately became dear friends. So many fond memories - barefooting on Lake Virginia - meeting Sam on Lee Road to discuss his concept for Bubbalou's - the Easter Bunny Foundation (my twin daughters were his first visit with Sam dressed in the Easter Bunny Costume and Eleanor in her beautiful flowing Easter dress) - the marriage to the love of his life Eleanor. The world has lost a special person. Sam helped so many people over his lifetime. He will be missed. I will cherish all the wonderful memories. Love ya Sammy
Tom Thomas
January 10, 2021
Robert and Jamieson
January 10, 2021
Robert and Jamieson
January 10, 2021
Eleanor- we are deeply saddened by the news about Sam. You know what a special place he held in our hearts. We are so thankful to have spent a wonderful day with the two of you before the world locked down with the pandemic and look forward to seeing you soon. Sending much love and our deepest sympathy.
Robert and Jamieson
January 10, 2021
Eleanor, 28 years ago you two married in Chappaquidick and we somehow knew that you two would be each other's last marriage. We are deeply sorry to hear of Sam's passing. He will be missed by all, but none more than you. Margaret and Joe
Margaret and Joe
January 10, 2021
Eleanor—
My heart goes out to you and your family for the loss o such a beautiful mosque man with such a huge heart.
Tim Manor
Tim Manor
Friend
January 10, 2021
Sam and Eleanor-We are absolutely heartbroken to lose our beloved Sam. Our whole family has so many beautiful memories of our time together. From so many laughs at dinners at your favorite La Cantina to so many Easter Bunny visits to the parade lap at Daytona. You are both a very special part of our family and we love you very much. We will never forget you Sam as you are bigger than life. God is welcoming you home. Our prayers are with you both. Eleanor we are here for you and God will give you peace and strength in all of your beautiful memories together.
Cindy Cutlip
January 10, 2021
I am grateful for the many things Sam Meiner brought to our community. He has left us too soon. My condolences to his family. I know they will cherish his memory with pride.
Bob Carr
January 10, 2021
Miss Eleanor and Family, We celebrate Sam's life and the extraordinary gifts his works brought our community and so many individuals. Our family is much better for having known first hand his humor, wit, and passion for serving others. The world is smaller today with out his smile and funny expressions. he will be missed but forever remembered in our hearts. We love you both and are here for you. Tight lines my dear friend and may you catch only the best fishes.
Keith Mizelle on Behalf of the Mizelle Family
January 10, 2021
Sharon and Marc Hagle
January 10, 2021
Sharon and Marc Hagle
January 10, 2021
Sam knew how to enjoy life. Such a soft soul, he will be missed.
Sharon and Marc Hagle
January 10, 2021
Sam and I met in middle school and have been friends since. He and Eleanor were always involved in so many altruistic projects and made it fun to be involved too. He will be missed
Bonnie Davis
January 9, 2021
Dear Eleanor, We are so very sorry for your loss! Sam was without a doubt one of the good guys in our community and he will be dearly missed. He had such a zeal for life, but it was most evident that he was most content and happy with you at his side. You most definitely completed him! Please accept our most sincere condolences.
Mark and Courtney Leggett
January 9, 2021
I worked for Sam 20+years at Bubbalou´s. Sam was so good to me and treated me so well.I´m sorry for your loss and will miss him very much.
Monty Morgan
January 9, 2021
So sorry to hear of Sam´s passing. You both were so friendly to me. The first time we met, at IMV´s elevator, you asked me if I liked ribs. Later that day you knocked on my door with a rib supper. It was 4th of July weekend. I was touched. Sam always wore I smile. He was so proud of the Easter Bunny Foundation as he explained it to me. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Karen Cordes #254
January 9, 2021
What a tremendous loss for you Eleanor as well as for all of us who knew and loved him. All through my early school years, he was seated behind me entertaining me with his quick wit, humor and many charms because we both shared last names beginning with M. Our parents were good friends and we all enjoyed beach time together in New Smyrna. I'm sure he will be missed by all who knew him, but he is sure to remain in all of our hearts and memories for eternity.
Merrily McClintock Terry
January 9, 2021
Sam's love of life and wonderful sense of humor will be missed but always remembered.
Joe & Joan Didato
January 9, 2021
Eleanor, Michael and I were so sorry to hear about Sam's passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. I know you have wonderful memories of your years together. You always looked so happy together, and he never missed a chance to say how much he loved you and was grateful to have you in his life. You were very much loved.
Jayne & Michael Klocke
January 9, 2021
barry didato
January 8, 2021
Eleanor, Sorry for your loss. He was a very special person, and will be truly missed by everyone that knew him.
Mike Reed ( MODEL A CLUB OF ORLANDO
January 8, 2021
I will miss the smile and graciousness that Sam exuded. Deep sympathy to his entire family, friends and business associates.
John Joseph Murphy II
January 8, 2021