The city of High Point and Guilford County has lost a much-beloved barbecue-making legend.

Bobby McRay Burleson – known better as Bob Burleson, the owner of Kepley’s Barbecue – died on Monday, May 16, at the age of 90, after decades of providing delicious meals to diners and good works to the community.

Born in Stanly County at during the Great Depression, he moved to High Point in 1948, where he got a job at Kepley’s Barbecue working the curb.

He took to the place and it took to him as well. In the early ‘60s he bought the restaurant – which he ran until the day he died.

After his death, posters on social media were commenting on his character and disposition.  People also shared their fond memories of Burleson in action at the restaurant.

One woman who posted a comment may even owe her very existence to Burleson’s fine barbecue.  Sherri Staton posted on Facebook that her parents had their first date at Kepley’s in 1962.

“Bob always remembered them, and would sit down in the booth and chat with them even recently,” she wrote. “He was a beautiful icon and a part of history, and will surely be missed. Fly high Bob! The Statons love you.”

Many others also noted his contributions to the community and their happy experiences eating at Kepley’s.

Burleson was famous for barbecue but he was also a savvy businessman who invested in real estate and helped start American Bank and Bank of North Carolina.

He was active in the High Point community, where he served on the High Point Housing Authority and was a member of the former Christ United Methodist Church.

In 1970, he built Kepley’s Barn which, according to his obituary, was “one of his pride and joys.”

A service for Burleson, which will no doubt be very well attended given the good food and joy he spread during his life, will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 21, in the Joel W. Farlow Center for Excellence Auditorium on the campus of Wesleyan Christian Academy.

That service will be followed by a private burial.