AUSTIN, Texas - We remember the life and legacy of Edgar Black, Jr., the legendary pitmaster of Black's Barbecue in Lockhart.
He passed away on Friday and funeral services were held Tuesday afternoon.
Edgar Clarence Black, Jr. died at the age of 91. For 60 of those years, he and his wife successfully grew the family businesses: Black's Barbecue, Northside Grocery and Market and the Lockhart Sausage Company.
"One of the founding fathers of barbecue here in town, he and his family. They helped put Lockhart on the map internationally as far as barbecue is concerned," said Mayor Lew White, City of Lockhart.
Church bells rang Tuesday afternoon as hundreds of people made their way to First United Methodist Church for the funeral services. Phyllis Raemsch worked at Northside Grocery when she was in high school and has fond memories.
"As they said today in the service, that he was a teacher and a mentor. If you didn't know how to do it, he would actually teach you how to do something. As an employee, he was always real good to us," said Phyllis Raemsch, former employee.
A procession led family and friends over to the grave-site at Lockhart Cemetery. They took their time saying their final goodbyes.
"Very honored to know him and to have worked under him," said Raemsch.
Many people, coming from miles away, stopped by Black's Barbecue in Lockhart on Tuesday. They quickly found out it was closed in honor of the legendary pitmaster. His family moved to the area in 1932 to open a grocery store and meat market that is now known as the famous Black's Barbecue.
"He's been a terrific ambassador for Lockhart. He was always welcoming the folks, whether you've been there a hundred times or whether it's your first time," said Mayor White.
Edgar attended Texas A&M in College Station. He then left to serve four years in the United States Navy during World War II. In 1948, he married the love of his life Norma Jean. It was then that Edgar went back to school and graduated. That's when he realized his dream was to come back home and manage the family businesses.
"Our square now is probably its busiest it's ever been. On a Saturday, it's packed with visitors that are wandering the boutiques and the other restaurants and taking pictures of the historical structures here in town. He has been at the forefront of promoting our town. Whatever is good for his restaurant is good for our town because people don't just come and eat and leave. A lot of them stay around," said Mayor White.
Black's Barbecue is entering its 85th year with five generations of family members working in the business.
Both locations will be back open on Wednesday.