Published on August 10th, 2023 | by Randy Weeks0
The View From The Balcony: “The Many Hues of a Great Man”
What can one say about a big man with an even bigger heart who could befriend a panther, yet muzzle a wildcat when a wildcat needed muzzling? Elihue Burt, who provided security for the upstairs bar at City Grocery for years, was such a man. We lost him on Friday, July 28, 2023. (Hue’s first name came from the Hebrew word ĕlīhū literally meaning, “My God is he” or “He is my God himself.”) Hue was family.
Elliott Willard wrote, “His smile was infectious, and he jumped at the opportunity to serenade anyone and everyone. The Upstairs Bar will miss you, brother.”
John “Coonie” Spreafico summed it up well: “The people make The Grocery what it is. Hue was a big part of that. Whether it was his smile or him singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to you, he always made you feel welcome. He was a treasure and will truly be missed.”
“I had the great privilege of working with this gentle soul for many years. Elihue Burt was a ray of sunshine. His perpetual optimism was infectious. His humble and kind demeanor is one that we should all aspire to emulate. I love him and will miss him greatly.” (Justin Burnett)
I sent out a FB request for people to say a few words about Hue. Here are some of the comments that came to me in response:
“So sad and shocked to hear this! Hue was awesome!” (Steve Stricker)
“Hue put a smile on everyone’s face as they reached the top…” (Bill Andrews). Bill, I would add “…unless you had a fake I.D.!”
“Always a gentleman. Hue made everyone’s day or evening a little brighter. Shine on, Sir!” (Bill Houston)
“What a wonderful man Hue was. always so kind and friendly. I am sad to see that he has passed.” (Charmie Lassen Weeks)
“Always smilin’!!! (Sandra Bennett Jackson)
“Sad news. He was a great guy.” (Robert Malone)
“I always loved how he would greet everyone by name and with a smile. He was always willing to take a photo and he always wanted to know how things were going. He was an Oxford icon and will be forever missed.” (Sally Laster Agnew)
“Hue had that gentle giant smile that would light up your day if it was dim or make it even brighter if it was already a swell one. Without knowing him well, I could tell he had compassion in his heart for people. I’ve seen him be patient and kind to those who were a bit too annoying from libations. I’ve seen him stern and kind to those who were a bit hot-headed. He walked and treated people with respect and received the same. His spirit will be missed by many and especially his family. The world was blessed to have gotten time with Hue.” (LaNair Baker)
“So saddened to read of Hue’s passing. The top of the stairs has never been the same once he left. He would let me slip by when they were cracking down on all kids (old or young). Hue always asked about my daughter and would tell me what field he had to cut at home. When I was going through a terrible time he knew and he held my hand a moment longer. Eerily, he was in my thoughts recently. A kinder, calmer soul I have never known. We were all better for having known him just a little.” (Belinda Barmby Hopkins)
“Mr. Hue always had a smile and a warm greeting. Couldn’t help but make you feel special.” (Jane Vorhies)
“Hue was awesome! He always had a smile on his face. I enjoyed talking with him every time I came to CG. He was a true class act!” (Brum Elliott)
“So sad to hear of Hue’s passing. He thought highly of Scott and Sydney (my children) and I always made sure to thank him for keeping a watchful eye on them. It meant a lot to me and Angela as parents to know there were people like Hue watching over our kids while they were 600 miles away from home!” (Greg Schroder)
“Hue was just such a genuinely good soul. He always seemed in good spirits and had an infectious laugh. I remember frequently talking to him about his church and I wish I would have gone one time to see him sing there. He was certainly one of the good ones.” (George McDaniel)
“I invited Hue and his wife to my 50th birthday party. They weren’t able to make it, but the next time I saw him at CG he hugged me (well, he always did that) and told me how much he appreciated the invitation. Then he sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to me and I cried. What a beautiful man he was. I’m so thankful for his friendship.” (Shannon Mays Lovejoy)
“I was very sorry to hear of his passing. He was kind, funny, and yet formidable.” (Tom Brady)
“Hue was brotherly love embodied. I’ll never forget his bighearted hugs and that genuine smile. He made me feel like he was so happy to see me every single time we crossed paths. I hope he’s singing and laughing his heart out in the hereafter.” (Jenna Lynn Mason)
“Hue was the epitome of everything we love about City Grocery and Oxford. He was always the smiling face at the top of the stairs with a hug and a listening ear. He was more than security. He was safety and joy. He was a bright light in the darkest night and the world is a little dimmer without him.” (Price Walden)
And from one of my childhood friends who never met Hue, but sensed his soul, “Haven’t had the pleasure of visiting there yet, didn’t have the pleasure to meet him. Still somehow, this saddens me.” (Stephen Baine Rigby)
Hue, you mattered. You always have. You always will.
…and that’s the View from The Balcony.
Randy Weeks is a Licensed Professional Counselor, a Certified Shamanic Life Coach, an ordained minister, a singer-songwriter, and an actor. He grieves over the loss of Hue Burt and has deep gratitude to have known him. Randy may be reached at email@example.com.