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Coronavirus deaths: Hecky Powell, founder of Evanston’s Hecky’s Barbecue, dies from COVID-19

EVANSTON, Ill. (WLS) — Hecky Powell, the beloved founder of Hecky’s Barbecue in Evanston, died of complications from the coronavirus Friday.

Powell opened his namesake restaurant nearly 40 years ago. Now the city of Evanston is mourning the loss of a legend.

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Carl LaMell first met Powell about 30 years ago.

“He was an impressive guy. He was bigger than life. He cared about people,” LaMell said. “He always helped the underprivileged. If you were down and out, he was the man to help you.”

Powell died early Friday morning after battling COVID-19, his longtime friends said.

“He was feeling a little weak. He was home for a couple of days and it seemed to progress and progress, and then it got harder and harder, and then he went to the hospital and that was it,” LaMell said.

The Powell family is heartbroken, and said in a statement posted on the restaurant’s website, “The outside world knew Hecky as a successful business owner and philanthropist in the Evanston community. However, we knew him best as the most generous and greatest father, husband, brother, son, cousin, friend and mentor anyone could ask for.”

The restaurant’s motto is “It’s the sauce,” but it’s more than the good food that made it a must-visit destination for decades.

“Hecky was like a friend to everybody around him,” said longtime customer Anthony Bass. “I can’t believe it happened.”

“He was the type of guy, if he met you on the street and you sort of hit it off with him, he would give you a card and say free meal. Stop in for a slab of ribs,” LaMell said.

Powell also founded the Forrest E. Powell Foundation in honor of his father. It gives out scholarships and grants to students.

“He was a mentor to many, and he was a friend to all. The best thin

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Source: ABC7 Chicago

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