For 14 years, Gene “Coffee King” Burch, 68, would hold court as the manager of Common Grounds Coffee Shoppe and Deli in Flowery Branch.
“If you didn’t have any money and in a bad mood, he’d give you coffee,” Flowery Branch City Clerk Melissa McCain said. “He’d take care of you.”
Everybody up and down Main Street knew Burch, McCain said, a man perpetually clad in a Hawaiian shirt. Burch died Monday at his home, according to his obituary.
“It didn’t matter what time of year it was — he had his Hawaiian shirt and his shorts,” said Larry Pritchard, one of Burch’s regulars.
Burch knew every one of his customers by name and order, co-worker Ashley Leaver said.
“He knew what they wanted as soon as he saw them pull up in the parking lot,” Leaver said, who knew Burch for eight years. “He’d already start cooking their food.”
Lorie Tankersley, who worked at the coffee shop for two and a half years, said Burch was one of the greatest bosses she’d ever had.
“They just don’t make them like him anymore hardly,” Tankersley said of Burch’s caring and loving nature.
Tankersley said Burch was one who learned to not sweat the small stuff and had a laid-back attitude.
“He loved God and he knew where he was going when he passed, so he didn’t have really a worry in the world,” she said.
In honor of his normal attire, McCain said a Hawaiian shirt was lain over his casket at the viewing.
According to his obituary, Burch was a member of 12 Stone Church in Flowery Branch and was retired from General Motors.
Funeral services were held at 11 a.m. Friday at Memorial Park South Funeral home.