Hundreds gather to say goodbye to Charles Vergos

By Jamel Major - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Hundreds of people flocked to Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church Tuesday to remember a man that helped put Memphis barbeque on the map.

Family, friends, and special dignitaries said goodbye to Memphis legend Charles Vergos during a service that was called one of the church's largest ever.

"He was a happy guy and brought so much joy to a lot of people," said his son, Nick Vergos. "We're just proud to be his family."

"I did business with Mr. Charlie years ago and he helped me quite a bit," said Stan Lautar, who called Vergos a friend. "I thought I'd come and pay my last respects.  I respect him tremendously."

Vergos died in his sleep Saturday morning at his home in Eads, after a long fight with Alzheimer's.  Since 1948, Vergos' famous Rendezvous restaurant has become an icon, known for its famous barbecued dry ribs.

"At least twice a month I'm always in the Rendezvous, and citizens from all over the world have eaten his ribs and barbeque," interim Shelby County Mayor Joe Ford said. "We've lost a legacy in the city."

Those who came to pay tribute to Vergos said he had a major influence on the Downtown area.

"There wouldn't be a downtown Memphis if it hadn't been for Mr. Charlie and all his efforts," JoCathy Elkington said.

Ford said Vergos touched many lives and was very active in the community.

"His memories will live on forever," Ford said.

A memorial service for Vergos has been scheduled for Mother's Day.  More details are set to be released soon.

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