This past week the Statesboro business and civic community lost a giant way too early. Scott “Big Dawg” Joyner died from a massive heart attack. He was 52.
I first met Scott more than 30 years ago when he was working as a deputy sheriff and I was a paramedic. I remember thinking that he was way too nice to be a deputy.
Scott was a larger than life person who loved this community as much as anyone I have ever known. He was a big man with an even bigger heart who always wore a white 10-gallon cowboy hat and never had a minute that he did not sport his signature smile.
He loved the Quarterback Club, Georgia Southern football, local politics, the Masons Ogeechee Lodge #213, the Statesboro Shrine Club, his Friday night Mugs and Movies date night ritual with the love of his life Elizabeth, Friendship Baptist Church, his family and cooking. Not necessarily in that order.
“He would always tell me ‘I don’t hunt, I don’t fish, I don’t play golf, but I do cook and that is my hobby,’” said Glenn Womack, his brother in law.
Cooking is something that “Big Dawg” took to a whole ‘nother level. His tailgate feasts at every Georgia Southern game in Paulson Stadium are legendary. Tailgating partner and longtime friend Lindsay Martin, president of MSO Water Systems, described him best,
“He was a free spirit,” Martin said. “You really never knew about him, but one thing was certain, if you were with him you were going to have a great time.”
Scott was the owner of Joyner Construction and Real Estate Development Company and worked with Patel Enterprises for many years building and developing convenience stores throughout the region. Every project he did was first class. His stores were creatively built and noticeably different.
“I have never met a man with a bigger heart,” said Bulloch County Sheriff Lynn Anderson. “He was the kind of guy that would do anything for anybody if he felt he could make a difference in their life. He sure made a huge difference in mine. No one worked harder to elect me Sherriff of Bulloch County than Scott. He was a great friend. His death will leave a huge void in our community that will be difficult to fill.”
You may wonder how he got the nickname, “Big Dawg.” It was not a title given to stroke his ego, but actually quite the opposite. No matter if Scott had known you his entire life or just met you, he would reach out his hand and greet you will a smile and his signature, “What’s up Big Dawg?”
He made you feel like the most important person in the world when he was talking to you. This is an art in itself that Scott perfected.
We pause today to reflect on the incredible impact Scott had on our community and to remember his incredible wife Elizabeth, daughter Ashley and son Austin in the challenging days ahead. I am certain Heaven has never seen a feast like “Big Dawg” is now preparing. May God be with his beautiful family.
DeWayne Grice is the business editor for the Statesboro Herald. He may be reached at (912) 489-9499.