Hecky Powell, owner of Hecky’s Barbeque, an Evanston, Illinois, institution, and a leading civic leader, died Friday from pneumonia and after being exposed to the coronavirus. He was in his seventies.
Mr. Powell opened the take-out restaurant in 1983, successfully serving residents from Chicago, Evanston and the North Shore. The restaurant also offered catering.
The restaurant served a wide variety tasty dishes, including BBQ chicken, BBQ ribs, mac & cheese, baby back ribs, pulled pork and Juneteenth Strawberry soda, which was the date—June 19, 1865– when slaves were freed in Texas. My son, Freddie, and I bought a couple of bottles, and he gave us four more and told us to ‘enjoy.’
The restaurant’s motto was “It’s the Sauce.”
Hecky also was an active member of the Evanston Democratic community, for which he was honored with the Abner Mikva Lifetime Achievement Award, said Evanston Democratic committeeman Emanon Kennedy.
Many Democratic officials from our U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky, to U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, to then State Senator Barack Obama sought and benefited from his strong support, Kennedy added.
Hecky also founded the Forrest E. Powell Foundation, named in his father’s honor. The foundation awarded music scholarships and grants for students enrolled in vocational school.
My wife, Susan, and I visited Hecky’s several times a year. If he were there, he would come out from behind the counter and greet us with big smile. He also was an avid reader of BlackmansStreet.Today and would ask me about stories he read.
Mr. Powell is survived by his wife Cheryl Judice, seven children, his mother and eight siblings