Lunch With Luther

CHATTANOOGA, TN. (WDEF-TV) In person—or on radio and T-V, Luther was always Luther.
He was always ready to listen to you…regardless of the time and place.
But he also had a select group of friends who got together every week to have lunch and swap stories.
WDEF News 12’s Bill Mitchell spoke with some of them.
Whether they were meeting at Mt. Vernon, Nikki’s Restaurant, or Epicurean–the Tuesday lunch bunch always had a great time.
They were all longtime friends..the kind you could tell anything to..and they were there when you needed them. Luther loved them..and they loved him—the man who became a Chattanooga legend.

JIM CRITTENDEN, EYEEAR OPTICAL, MEMBER OF THE LUNCH BUNCH "Last week, we had lunch, a week back and we..each time he would say :see ya..see you old pal." So we all expected it to happen."

EARL FREUNDENBERG, RADIO COLLEAGUE, MEMBER OF THE LUNCH BUNCH "Well, it happened at 6 o’clock. And I just thought Luther always came on the air at 6 o’clock. He’s reporting for duty at his new 6 o’clock."

JUNE JONES, NIKKI’S "I just said to myself and to some of my employees…do not think anything about this..we know that Luther is in a better place than we are…so let’s be thankful for that."

Luther’s closest friends knew he was 92 years old. They also knew he had not been feeling well lately. But his death was still felt deeply.

CINDY MESSINGER, MT.VERNON RESTAURANT "I just am so thankful that Luther was able to get the desire of his heart. He wants to work until his last breath and boy he did it. What a blessing and tribute to him."

But Luther cast a wide net over the years. Everyone felt they were a part of his life.

WALTER WILLIAMS, FORMER CITY JUDGE "In fact, a month ago we were on a program, together. He was always a joy to be around …Always had something funny to say and he’d just ..Just a genuinely good person."

The Tuesday lunch bunch will likely meet somewhere at noon tomorrow…and they will have plenty to talk they prepare to say farewell to the leader of the bunch.
Just because Luther was having lunch with his best buddies didn’t mean he couldn’t be interrupted.
That just wasn’t his style.
Longtime restaurant employees told us he would stop and take as long as it took to hear what someone had to say.
And sometimes those pinto beans and cabbage dishes he loved so much would be cold when he returned.
But you wouldn’t expect anything less from Luther.

Categories: Local News

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