HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) — A local legend in the High Point restaurant business has passed away.

Customers, employees, and family members of Bob Burleson are now showing up to Kepley’s BBQ to make sure he is not forgotten.

During lunch hour, Kepley’s BBQ in High Point is packed with hungry customers. On Wednesday, the people who came in sat with a heaviness in their hearts,

“I’m sure everyone will miss good ol’ Bob,” said David Hunt, a longtime customer.

Bob opened Kepley’s in 1948. He died unexpectedly Monday at the age of 90.

  • Bob Burleson, owner of Kepleys BBQ, passes away (Photo Courtesy of Van Denton)
  • Bob Burleson, owner of Kepleys BBQ, passes away (Photo Courtesy of Van Denton)
  • Bob Burleson, owner of Kepleys BBQ, passes away (Photo Courtesy of Van Denton)
  • Bob Burleson, owner of Kepleys BBQ, passes away (Photo Courtesy of Van Denton)
  • Bob Burleson, owner of Kepleys BBQ, passes away (Photo Courtesy of Van Denton)
  • Bob Burleson, owner of Kepleys BBQ, passes away (Photo Courtesy of Van Denton)
  • Bob Burleson, owner of Kepleys BBQ, passes away
  • Bob Burleson, owner of Kepleys BBQ, passes away
  • Bob Burleson, owner of Kepleys BBQ, passes away

“He will be very missed. He was an icon in the community, and in our lives,” Susan Burleson said.

Susan has worked alongside her dad since the age of three.

“He’s a wonderful person…everybody knows him. He knows no strangers…he created it, and every customer was his best friend,” Susan said.

Bob’s big smile and beaming personality added life and energy to the restaurant.

It’s one thing that attracted Wendi Haggerty to start working at the restaurant when she was 15.

She stayed for almost a decade.

“That was my first job here at the restaurant. I worked until I graduated from high school. He was more than just my employer. He was a father figure. He always encouraged me,” she said.

A floral arrangement has been placed on the front door of the restaurant. Employees closed their doors on Tuesday to pay their respect but had to get back to work for Bob and the customers he loved.

“We absolutely want to keep this thing going,” Hunt said. “High Point wouldn’t be High Point with Kepley’s.”

Kepley’s will be closed on Saturday for Bob Burleson’s funeral.

Services will be held at the Joel W. Farlow Center for Excellence Auditorium on the campus of Wesleyan Christian Academy at 1:30 p.m.