Three local businesses – The Texas Tavern, Black Dog Salvage and Simply Framing by Kristi – have joined forces to raise money for Tudor House, a new non-profit formed after Louis Tudor lost his battle with mental illness and took his own life on Wednesday, July 1, 2020.
Tudor House focuses on suicide prevention, education and support. Three vintage Texas Tavern signs went up for auction on eBay through next Tuesday, November 3 at noon. Louis Tudor was the longtime owner of Tudor’s Biscuit World and a popular swim coach as well as community volunteer.
Matt Bullington owns Texas Tavern: ”We are auctioning off some vintage Texas Tavern signs. One was on the front of the building for years (perhaps 20), that we gave to our friends at Black Dog Salvage to put the finishing touch on. That’s a signature piece.” Black Dog added a custom dark frame fashioned from barn wood.
Two smaller signs that were located inside the famed Church Avenue eatery – frequented in the past by visiting celebrities, the local late-night crowd and by everyone in between – have been mounted by Simply Framing and are also part of the eBay auction. “One was a display menu sign for several years,” notes Bullington, a fourth-generation owner. The other is a sign that promoted the Tavern’s chili – or Chile as they call it, entitled “Chile you’ll like it.” (See Sign Auction Links Below.)
Mike Whiteside from Black Dog Salvage got to know Louis Tudor when he installed a balcony rail at the former Biscuit World location in downtown Roanoke. “He was just a staple in this area, people loved him. I’m really proud to be part of this fundraiser. Mental illness is a big thing these days – it always has been. Bringing awareness to it and letting people talk about it, and understand it, that’s very important.”
Molly Bullington is the marketing director for husband Matt Bullington’s tavern and says Louis Tudor was her swim coach (for their kids as well). She recalls Tudor’s cash register breaking down and Matt lending his backup register in the wee hours of the morning. “He was competition but at the same time we were all in it together. We were such great friends.”
Bullington says Louis Tudor was “full of personality. To see him decline in mental health like that, it’s scary – he was just like any one of us.” The pandemic’s impact was a factor says Bullington, something his family members had indicated as well after Tudor’s suicide. “With the onset of Covid-19, Louis began struggling with declining mental health. Being shut away from the water, and his former life pre-pandemic, it only made it worse.”
“Tudor House is honored to be the beneficiary of the sign auction,” said Kathleen Thorell, interim director of Tudor House. “With the proceeds … we hope to continue our mission.”
Detailed descriptions of each sign and photos can be found in the auction links:
Exterior sign: https://www.ebay.com/itm/133557572399
Menu sign: https://www.ebay.com/itm/133557551360
Chile sign: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Texas-Tavern-Chile-Sign/133557558571
– Gene Marrano