Friends, family and fans remember Joe B. Hall in his hometown

Coach Joe B. Hall was known to frequent Biancke's on trips back home to Cynthiana.
Coach Joe B. Hall was known to frequent Biancke's on trips back home to Cynthiana.(Source: WKYT)
Published: Jan. 15, 2022 at 10:15 PM CST
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CYNTHIANA, Ky. (WKYT) - It’s clear when you walk in Biancke’s Restaurant, you’re taken care of like family.

‘Whatcha wanting to drink baby?’

Where the food is as southern as the waitresses’ hospitality.

‘Now I can getcha some bourbon, but I can’t getcha no Mountain Dew.’ ‘Well alright, get me a bourbon and a coke.,” could be overheard in exchange between a waitress and a patron.

Which is how it became the perfect spot for the Gilkerson kids’ monthly meetup.

“Their mother cooked Sunday dinner every Sunday. Don’t care if you showed up or not, she had Sunday dinner. Just the way it was, you know. So when she passed away, we started doing this,” said Wanda Gilkerson.

Wanda Gilkerson married into the rowdy bunch of four brothers and two sisters.

The only other times they’re sure to round everyone up is when UK plays.

“Every time Kentucky plays we go to each other’s house,” said Gilkerson’s husband, Leonard.

Wanda and her husband Leonard already preparing to host the next watch party.

“Well next Saturday it’s at our house. Yeah our house at 8:30.”

There may be some debate over the time of the game.

“No 1:30.” “1:30? I thought it was 8:30.” “No that’s Tuesday.” “Listen to her Leonard.” “See he never listens to me.” “I let her correct me all the time.” Wanda and Leonard said in a lighthearted debate.

The Gilkersons can agree on one thing after UK’s win against Tennessee Saturday.

“They won it for Joe B. They sure did.”

Before the Gilkersons became regulars, someone else who may have loved the game of basketball even more, frequented the Main Street business.

“We had heard when we first started coming here that Joe B. Hall always came here.”

Before he was Coach Hall, Joe B. Hall’s senior class picture from 1947 proudly hangs on the walls.

And on the day of his death, Biancke’s is full of dedicated fans, taking pictures, sporting their UK gear and gathering for supper sharing their favorite memories.

“When it comes to Kentucky Basketball we go back a long way. A long way. Like into the 50s and 60s.”

The Gilkerson brothers were there when Coach Hall lead the Wildcats to the 1978 NCAA title.

“It was great, it was great. It was a celebration.”

Turn any direction in downtown Cynthiana and it’s clear what Coach Hall means to the community. From the street signs, to the larger than life mural and then back to the dinner tables where stories seem to be the main course.

“He was a good man.” “He was.” “Well Joe B. Hall was for family, just like we’re all for family.”

People also started laying flowers in front of Hall’s mural downtown.

We’re told Hall’s funeral service will be private due to COVID-19.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Crestwood Christian Church, 1882 Bellefonte Dr., Lexington, KY 40503, the Lexington Humane Society or Bluegrass Care Navigators.

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