Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- The owner of one of Columbia's long-standing restaurants has died.
Clyde Patrick, better known as "Sonny," ran Mack's on Laurel for nearly 50 years.
He was 76-years old, and the community he left behind is in mourning.
"It was like 'Cheers,'" said Edna Kindle, who's been coming to Mack's for about 10 years. Her husband Darrell has been coming for nearly twice as long, near 20 years, the couple said.
For many of the people who come to Mack's on Laurel, this isn't just the passing of a business owner, but the passing of a man many saw as a friend.
"I'd come in here by myself (when) my husband's not able to come," said Kindle. "I walked in the door, and the first thing Susan said was Sonny died, and it's just an empty feeling," Kindle said.
Mac's on Laurel has been at the same location since the 1960's.
"He was like a father," said Susan Brisson, who said she has been working at the restaurant since she was 16, some 18 years ago.
Brisson said the hole left by losing Sonny is hard to ignore.
Today has been really hard," Brisson said. "We're trying. It's kind of like we're working and functioning on auto pilot.
"We are all very numb."
John Heyward said he comes back to Mack's on Laurel over and over, and that he has come back three times each week for the past eight years.
"The fact that you know you can come to a place where people care for people," Heyward said, explaining what brings him back after so long. "They want to do good for people, and that's basically what brings me back."
Brisson said, collectively, there is one thing that could be done to ease the pain, if even momentarily.
"We're here today, even though we don't want to be, because this is what he would have wanted, said Brisson. "He would have said 'hey this isn't the weekend, you need to work.' That's why we're here, to carry on."
Flowers were sent to the restaurant Friday afternoon by a well-wisher, and long time customer, Brisson said.
Services for Mr. Patrick will be held tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m. at Dunbar Funeral home, according to Brisson.