John Kauffman was co owner/manager of Grand Island Nursery with his brother Frankie. These gentlemen were remarkable friends as well as brothers. A visit to their office was an adventure. There were two big metal desks facing each other in a metal barn. Gadgets everywhere. At one time they each had Tandy computers! Both loved airplanes and flying and boats and the water. Both were absolutely a joy to be with as they were such fun to talk with no matter what the subject. In addition to citrus trees they grew peaches, apples, pears, persimmons and probably other deciduous fruit trees. I would order several for a planting someplace and find the trees wrapped in an old piece of plastic pinned with a 16 penny nail!
John was President of the Florida Citrus Nurseryman’s Association and worked hard for that organization during the canker times. He was a big man with a big heart and laugh that just rolled through a room! He was always willing to help others and a fountain of knowledge. The nursery business was all he knew as his grandfather started Grand Island Nursery and John worked in it all his life. His big house on Lake Yale was a museum and a terrible loss when in burned to the ground. John was an institution in Eustis serving on the old First National Bank of Eustis board for many years and one of those members of the St. Thomas Espiscopal church that carried it for many years through the numerous roles he played and dollars he provided.
John, known to his friends and family as “Bozie” and Frankie Kauffman were a pair that enhanced the citrus industry by sharing their years of experience and extensive knowledge with many of us. For those that had the privilege to know and interact with the Kauffamns, the loss is great. I will always value their friendship, generosity and willingness to help.