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Our thoughts... Louis Van Dyke
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We were saddened to learn of the death last week of Louis Van Dyke, the Social Circle entrepreneur and owner of the world-famous Blue Willow Inn.

He was a visionary and a major promoter of Social Circle, best known for the Blue Willow, which serves excellent Southern fare in a restored mansion. Van Dyke and his wife, Billie, opened the Blue Willow in 1991.

Since then, the Blue Willow has become a landmark, an attraction, that draws tour-bus loads of visitors to our area, and a major player in the local economy.

Two years ago, Van Dyke built the Blue Willow Village behind the inn. His dream of developing this shopping experience into a destination stop similar to the Blue Willow was slowed because of the economic downturn which hit about the same time.

Overall, the Blue Willow and its adjuncts employ more than 100.

Van Dyke’s untimely death at age 63 leaves not only Social Circle, but all the local communities with a void.

Patsy Joiner, his longtime administrative assistant, told us that the plans are to keep the Blue Willow running.

We certainly hope so.