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.