A man who spent more than a half-century behind the counter calling orders at a Spartanburg diner— and became an Upstate icon in the process– has died.
John “JC” Stroble, who was known as the “Beacon Barker” for the method he used to call orders at the Beacon Drive-In, died Monday evening, according to a statement on the restaurant’s Facebook page. He was 71.
“Friends, it is with a heavy heart that I must share with you that JC passed away earlier this evening,” the post said. “He was a great man, with an incredible personality and spirit. I am happy I had the chance to know him the last 15 years. We at the Beacon will truly miss JC, but his place is fixed in our hearts, and his memory will always remain.
J.W. Woodward Funeral Home is handling funeral arrangements and will announce them at a later date.
Stroble died a little more than two weeks after he was found unresponsive following a fall, his family said. Family members took him off life support last week.
Stroble began working as a carhop at The Beacon when he was 14 years old. He continued for 57 years after that, even as he lost his sight to glaucoma at age 35. Thousands of customers have watched him shout their orders towards the kitchen, then turn to the next in line with his catchphrase, “Call it!”
His signature style has helped the restaurant become an institution over the past few decades. In fact, it may be the city’s most famous eatery. The Beacon has become a rite of passage for most presidential candidates who pass through the Upstate during South Carolina’s early primary, and many pictures hang on its walls showing Stroble posing with them.