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Remembering a Statesboro staple, Bruce Yawn

Published: Jan. 21, 2022 at 5:09 PM EST
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STATESBORO, Ga. (WTOC) - Many in Statesboro are mourning the death of businessman and community leader Bruce Yawn.

He passed Thursday at age 74.

It’s easy to ride by a Statesboro building now and just see a cell phone store. But for generations in Statesboro, it will always be “where Snooky’s used to be.”

The passing of the beloved restaurant’s former owner leaves many recalling his legacy as a community leader and mentor.

Yawn was a fixture of “Snooky’s”, the restaurant named for his late father. It was part diner, part hangout. A surrogate home for decades of college students.

Darin Van Tassel remembers - before debit cards - Yawn let hundreds of students keep a meal tab.

“When we had our parents in town, we’d take them to Snooky’s and charge it, because we could,” Van Tassel said.

Yawn helped restart Georgia Southern football and convinced Erk Russell to be the first head coach. The “Bald Eagle” made Snooky’s his unofficial office. When Yawn retired and closed Snooky’s, he started serving on the Development Authority of Bulloch County.

“For those ten years, we spoke every day. Every day he was interested in what could help people in Bulloch County,” Development Authority CEO Benjy Thompson said.

Others recognized him as a mentor- in business and in life.

“He was one of the most humble people I’ve ever known. He could make things happen, but he didn’t need to tell you that he did,” friend Mandy Fortune said.

“If we’re able to do anything in this town going forward, we’re building it on the shoulders of people like Bruce Yawn.”

Gone, but never forgotten.

The Statesboro/Bulloch Chamber has announced the Lifetime Achievement Award will be named after Yawn from now on.

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