Flowers fill ‘That BBQ Place’ reopening as community honors victims

Reporter: Olivia Jean Writer: Elyssa Morataya
Published: Updated:

The Matlacha community is trying to heal, including Mark Gulbrandson, who knew Mary Lou, Butch, and Tom very well.

“[Tom and I have] been friends for over 50 years,” said Gulbrandson “he got knocked up pretty bad there.”

Tom is another victim of the reckless driver. He has been with Butch, Mary-Lou’s partner in the hospital.

“Butch is a very talented musician,” said Gulbrandson.

Butch is a fiddle player and guitar player.

He’s played with Deb and the dynamics over the last twenty years. Although he’s not a regular with the band, he plays with them every time they come to Matlacha.

On Friday, That BBQ Place opened its doors back up, but with a change.

The tables where Mary Lou and the 4 others sat before Saturday’s crash are gone.

The owner of That BBQ Place told WINK News he will never put tables outside in front of the restaurant ever again.

Instead, a memorial garden is now being built.

“I’m just going to put a primer coat on this box. We adopted this box. It’s in memory of Mary Lou.” said Gulbrandson

The community has rallied together and brought tons of flowers, planters, and dirt.

“Marylou is somebody that will tell you whatever she wants to say, even if you don’t want to hear it,” said Gulbrandson. “But it’s always the truth. She’ll tell you the truth. Always. Great woman, always had a smile on her face.”

Dozens of people have told WINK News reporter Olivia Jean this week that Mary-Lou always had a smile on her face.

The restaurant closed at 8 p.m. on Friday.

Deb and the Dynamics will be honoring Mary Lou and Butch this Sunday during a benefit concert at the Civic Center in Saint James City.

The event is called Party in the Park and will be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 21.

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