Remembered as big -- both in stature and heart -- a man many came to call a friend over the years on Elmwood Avenue, has lost his battle to COVID-19.

On Monday, Mark Williams died. Today, friends and family are remembering the big impact he had on their lives.

WGRZ reports:

"Just his aura, he was a big, giant teddy bear, and he'd just hug everybody. He's always smiling, and he's kind of known for yelling out 'whoop, whoop' all the time," said Mike Shatzel, a local restaurateur.

Known to many by his nickname "Big Daddy," his loss will be felt as many people begin to return to the bar scene for the first time since the pandemic began.

Williams' family was hit hard by the virus, with his brother passing away from COVID-19 in November, and his mother is in the ICU, still ill with the infection.

According to WGRZ:

"Mark went into ICU two weeks ago, and his mother has been in there for a couple weeks now, she's still battling it in the ICU, in a coma, on a ventilator," said Shatzel, who also points out that he was diagnosed with the coronavirus and recovered.


Shatzel says the two were just a couple rooms apart in Sister's Hospital.

Williams leaves behind a 19-year-old daughter, and a GoFundMe page has been started to help cover medical costs for the family and his daughter's education.

On Monday, Mark passed away, leaving behind his 19-year-old daughter, Elizabeth:

"She's currently enrolled at ECC, so we're going to use whatever is left over to give her a head start on her future by paying her tuition and her needs for school," Mike Shatzel said.

Shatzel said Cole's is already working on a way to memorialize Williams at the bar, including bringing back a steak sandwich that was named in honor of him:

"We used to have a Big Daddy steak sandwich, so odds are I'll probably bring that back do a little ode to him in the description, so once that's on, I'll never take it off."

You can contribute to the GoFundMe here.

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