John Lawrence Layer​

John was born in Iowa City, Iowa and adopted by Lawrence and Mildred Layer. He grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and later Colorado Springs, Colorado. John served his country in the US Navy during the Vietnam War. He served on 7 aircraft carriers, including the first nuclear carrier the USS Enterprise. Thanks to the GI Bill, John’s educational career included studies at Seminole Communit y College and Stetson University and culminated in 1995 with a BS degree in Environmental Studies.
John started his work with invasive aquatic plants at the City of Maitland in 1974. When the City decided to contract out their work, John went to work for the contractor Paul Kawagouchi, Inc. and later Joyce Environmental Consultants, Inc. In 1978, he started Florida Environmental Services with a silent partner. When that partnership dissolved, John became the Supervisor of Aquatic Weed Control at the St. Johns River Water Management District from 1981 to 1983 to ride out his non-compete agreement. While at the District, John worked closely with SePRO and Monsanto in their development of Sonar and Rodeo.
The day his non-compete agreement was up, John left Government work to start Florida Environmental Consultants, Inc. with partner and wife, Beth. John worked every day at FEC from 1983 until this January, when his illness prevented him from continuing his field work. John’s passion was his work. His outspoken concerns for Florida’s fresh water lakes and rivers made him a controversial figure. His other passion was collecting Indian artifacts and learning about Paleo man. He spent much of his leisure time scuba diving the rivers of north Florida looking for “the big one”. He was very proud of his collection and his donation to the Silver River Museum.
John was a man’s man. He was fearless. He spent much of his life outdoors but he was happiest when he was in the seat of an airboat with a spray gun in his hand. He took so much pride in his work and felt that he really made a difference in the battle against invasive plants.
John was a charter member of the Florida Aquatic Plant Management Society, a certified Pest Control Operator, a licensed Realtor and a licensed Charter Boat Captain. John is survived by his wife of 36 years, Beth; son John; daughters Angela and Mary; eight grandchildren (Heather, Shauna, Haley, Jessica, Odie, Brandon, Dylan, and Jesse); and eight great-grandchildren. Florida Environmental Consultants, Inc. will continue under the direction of Beth and son John, who worked with his dad for the last 10 years. We are saddened with the passing of this incredible man, but look forward to the future as we carry on his legacy.