The new year began with the sad news of the passing of a long time, much beloved Grand Junction businessman. If you've ever had breakfast at a downtown restaurant, you know exactly who I'm talking about.

I received a message early Tuesday morning, New Year's Day, from Dyan, the former manager of Talley's Restaurant. Sadly, the message informed me that Mr. Talley had passed away the night before.

Jerry Talley operated Talley's, or Talley's Big Biscuit (as it appeared on the menu), for years on Main Street. If you go back far enough, you can remember when his wife Liz helped run the place. Liz passed away a number of years ago.

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It is my understanding Jerry Talley used to be a professional wrestler. The west wall of Talley's featured several autographed portraits from famous wrestlers. One such photo was a signed 8X10 from Gorgeous George.

There's always been a rumor circulating around town Mr. Talley possessed a Master's Degree in Business. I'm not sure where I heard that. It's not hard to believe, though. He was an excellent businessman.

I enjoyed breakfast at Talley's five days a week for many years. I don't recall ever ordering anything. Upon walking in the door, you could hear the waitress inform the cooks to whip up a "Waylon." Somehow the cooks always knew what that meant. For the record, the "Waylon" was two eggs over easy, bacon, wheat toast, and grits.

Looking back, I don't recall ever walking through the front door of the place. The main entrance was off of Main Street. Everyone entered from the back door off of Colorado.

Mr. Talley would typically work the cash register. Being a radio jock, my wardrobe historically consists of a t-shirt, jeans, and tennis shoes. That is pretty much dress code for my line of work. One day I came into Talley's wearing a sports jacket and a tie, and Mr. Talley about fainted.

Looking back about 13 or 14 years, I can recall having a conversation with Liz about music. I was sitting at a table, working on a musical score. She saw the sheet music and mentioned she had been a cellist in her youth. We really connected after that. Future visits included many conversations about music and the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra.

Jerry and Liz really made a mark on this town. As I recall, they had a daughter who waited tables there. Dyan once told me that during her tenure as the manager at Talley's, over 250 employees had come and gone. On a few occasions, I've posted about Talley's on our the station's webpage. People respond by the hundreds with fond memories of the place.

As I've said many times before, I miss Talley's. The place was simply awesome. It doesn't get any more local, or any better, than that. I'll miss Jerry Talley, too.