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Murphysboro, Ill. BBQ legend honored

Published: Jun. 28, 2021 at 5:53 PM CDT
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MURPHYSBORO, Ill. (KFVS) - Friends and family gathered in Murphysboro on Monday to say a final goodbye to Mike Mills, the late owner of 17th Street Barbecue.

Mills died in December at the age of 79.

The service and visitation were held at United Methodist Church in Murphysboro.

BBQ colleagues of Mills from across the nation were in attendance.

“As it pertains to Mr. Mike and BBQ, if there was a Rushmore of BBQ, his head would be one that would be on the mountain,” said Sam Jones, owner of Sam Jones BBQ.

Jones traveled from North Carolina to honor Mills at Monday’s memorial service.

“Mr. Mike was one of the most genuine, nice people. In BBQ there’s one of those sayings cause there’s competition and people think it’s got to be competitive all the time, and he was of the sentiment that, that’s not really the case,” said Jones.

Jones also gave a rendition during the service.

“But to look out and see so many of our colleagues from across the country that paused their life to come honor Mr. Mike, it made it very special to me to be able to have a small part in it, but then to look out and see that. Man, there was people representing from all over the country,” said Jones.

A shrine of all of Mills’ trophies, followed by family, friends and BBQ colleagues walked around the block in Murphysboro passing 17th Street.

“To walk in a procession like that is really old fashion and it’s really an honor to somebody. Not everyone gets to have their funeral with a procession, but Mike Mills was truly the legend,” explained Patrick Martin, of Martins BBQ joint in Nashville, Tennessee.

Martin took part in that walk.

He called Mills a true Bar-B-Que legend.

John Stage owns Dinosaur BBQ in New York. He too thought highly of Mills.

“The man was BBQ. We always called him the legend. So, you know he’s going to be missed. He’s going to be missed. I miss seeing him. I miss our conversations,” said Stage.

Stage will honor Mills inside one of his restaurants.

“I already claimed one of those pictures with him standing in front of all the trophies, so that’s going in my restaurant,” said Stage.

Jones knows the influence Mike Mills had on the BBQ community and the City of Murphysboro.

“This town, as well as the Mills family, the BBQ community, has truly lost a treasure” said Jones.

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