JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - A Jonesboro cooking legend passed away from COVID-19 on Christmas Day.
Sue Williams, the founder of one of Jonesboro’s longest standing restaurants, passed away at the age of 88.
“She tells stories about pulling up to the stove on a stool as a child, cooking, but, when she first started doing it professionally was 1967,” said John Williams.
John Williams, Sue’s son, was also just a child when he began helping his mom around the kitchen.
Sue’s career in the kitchen lasted over 50 years.
In 1976, she began running the dining room at Citizens Bank.
“She got the biggest kick there because she got to serve, Bill Clinton and Jim Guy Tucker and all the Governors of the state of Arkansas,” said John.
In 1984, she opened Sue’s Kitchen on Main Street.
“She had that for 10 years, until she had strokes that put her in a wheelchair,” said John.
In honor of his Mom, John reopened the restaurant 12 years ago.
“Mom was down there every day with me,” said John. “She was down there peeling potatoes and greeting our guests and being involved 100%, she loved it.”
Sue made thousands of meals over the years.
“Her favorite dish was probably her peanut butter pie, just because so many people just loved it,” said John.
Sue did a lot for the community.
“There was never a soul that came to my mama’s door who was hungry that was turned away, because they couldn’t pay,” said John.
John says he worked with his mom up until about a year ago when she entered the nursing home.
They entered her three days before the state went into lockdown.
She contracted COVID in the nursing home.
Like many families right now, John was unable to see his mom because of COVID restrictions, in her final days.
“That was the tough part,” said John. “Christmas morning, getting that call, we spoke to her about 8:00 Christmas morning, she couldn’t talk, the nurses held the phone to her ear.”
She passed away four hours later.
“We were so proud the vaccine was out, we were thinking that hopefully, they’ll get that vaccine real soon,” said John.
Sue leaves behind quite the legacy.
Three generations of Williams have now worked in Sue’s kitchen.
Sue’s grandson, Chance, shares his Grandma’s passion, you can find him almost any day working in the kitchen.
The family says they will not have an immediate service due to COVID-19, but they will have a celebration of Sue’s life in the spring.