TYLER, Texas — The Tyler community is mourning the loss of one of Tyler ISD's former band directors who left a remarkable impact at Tyler High School.
Known as 'Big Bad John,' John Samples served as the band director at Tyler High School in the 1980s and 1990s.
Samples' leadership and character would lead to a huge increase in students wanting to join the band
Due to it's growth, Tyler's band program would later be renamed the "Big Blue Band" in Samples' honor.
One of Samples' former students, Larry Wade Jr., says his impact led him to become a band director at his alma mater.
"He was one of my mentors, especially now being a band director," Wade Jr said. "He was someone I looked up to in high school, like so many others and he was a legend at the school in the community and around the state of Texas."
Wade Jr. served as a drum major while being taught by Samples at Tyler High School. He says he remembers learning some of his most valuable life lessons while in band.
"We learned some musical things, but he taught us many life lessons," Wade Jr said. "I think if you ask anybody, they'll tell you that Mr. Samples taught so many life lessons to help you be the best you can be. I'm just thankful I had the opportunity to be taught by him."
Funeral services are still being planned by Samples' family.