The City of Memphis has Lost a Great Man

There are people who promote themselves as having done something great for the city of Memphis and then there are a few folks who have truly made a difference for the Bluff City.  Thomas Boggs of Huey’s fame is one of those who made a difference.  Anyone who knew Thomas (and it seems just about everybody has a Thomas Boggs story of some sort) knew him as a very focused businessman who wanted to see good things for the city of Memphis.  I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Thomas and his lovely wife Wight since Bethany and I moved to Midtown Memphis 19-years ago.  Their house is just across the alley from ours.

Thomas loved Midtown Memphis.  He said he and Wight had talked about moving out east at one point in time because of concerns about crime and such but he said he didn’t want to leave Midtown.  Plus, his first Huey’s Restaurant was located in Midtown and he liked it being close by.  Thomas was always a good neighbor and kept a close eye on our house when he knew we would be away.  Once, when my brother-in-law stopped by but found our back gate locked, my brother-in-law started to climb the fence.  The next thing he knew, Thomas Boggs was standing there with a handgun asking my brother-in-law just what he thought he was doing.  When my B-I-L said he was trying to see if we were home, Thomas informed him that he didn’t know if my B-I-L’s story was true or not and that he (Thomas) suggested my B-I-L climb down since we weren’t at home.  My brother in law did just that and left.

Thomas and Wight were big supporters of the the Memphis Zoo and helped raise money through events such as Zoo Rendezvous.   Thomas would hire people down on their luck to do odd jobs around his house.  He was always willing to help those who were willing to help themselves.

Back in 2006 while my Dad was fighting his battle with cancer, Thomas confided in me that he too was dealing with inoperable cancer.  I was stunned because I would have never guessed it by virtue of the fact that he had never lost his sunny disposition.  My wife and I often talked about about how both Thomas and Wight were the most positive, optimistic couple we’d ever met.  But even their optimistic outlook coupled with the best medical treatment  could not stop the  spread of  the cancer.   Bethany and  I saw Thomas and Wight in their backyard about a week and a half ago enjoying the pleasant spring weather and we stopped by just for a moment.  Thomas’ bright brown eyes were dimmed somewhat by what he was going through but I could still see a bit of a sparkle.  That’s just the way Thomas was.  He always had that sparkle.

This morning I received a call from Wight that Thomas had passed during the night.  Thomas will be missed by his many, many friends and business associates.  Through his efforts both public and private, he helped make Memphis a better place to live.  And I am a better person for having known Thomas Boggs.  May he rest in peace.

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5 Comments on “The City of Memphis has Lost a Great Man”

  1. The GM Says:

    You are correct. Memphis lost a good one. Sorry to hear the news. Thoughts and prayers with the Boggs family.
    The GM

  2. smharris Says:

    Joe, you’re right. What a positive impact Thomas Boggs had, and will continue to have, in this community. From Midtown, Downtown, to Collierville and Cordova people gather at his restaurants to laugh, cry, talk, and connect with all kinds of people. I remember him sometimes taking the food himself to tables, seating people, cleaning up–doing whatever it took to keep people satisfied. Something you don’t see much from people in his position. My prayers to his family and that they find consolation in the good things he did for this community.

  3. JD Says:

    Joe, you hit the nail on the head square, about Mr. Boggs. I can remember when people said that his restaurant and bar on Madison would never make it, while competing against Overton Square. I asked him about it and he laughed and said:”Heck, Ben and Frank and John all eat here and have fun visiting”. That was some 35 years or more ago and the place is still booming. (They were the original founding partners of Overton Square- Friday’s and Bombay Bicycle etc.)

    Great businessman. Great communicator. Great human being. He is going to be very much missed.

  4. Kathy Gore Says:

    I did not know this gentleman, but a gentle man I knew him to be. My niece, Stephanie, was his executive assistant and all she could say was “He is wonderful”. She loved him and his family dearly and I know this will greatly affect her. His family was blessed, as was the city of Memphis and my niece, to have had this gentle person in their midst.

  5. Tom Stocker Says:

    Just learned today (5/13) of Thomas’ passing through this web site. Thomas always had time to talk with you. He always had a smile, no matter what may have been happening in the restaurant at the time. I don’t know how many hundreds of Hueyburgers I gave away on Chicks and Redbirds broadcasts. In the late 70’s and early 80’s when there wasn’t much to do in Memphis for nightlife, Huey’s was the favorite hangout for many of us in the TV news business and we all had some great times. Thomas Boggs was a good man and made Memphis a better place to live. He will be missed.


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