A beloved member of the Park Circle community and the biggest advocate of the neighborhood, William "Burk" Prysock, passed away on Monday.
A fixture in the bar and restaurant scene along East Montague in the Olde Village of North Charleston — and a regular at two of Park Circle's signature bars, Madra Rua Irish Pub and the Mill — Burk, or Burk with a K as he was known, never met a stranger, according to Alan Coker, marketing manager for the North Charleston Coliseum and Performing Arts Center.
"When he would meet you, he would immediately go to another friend and introduce you to that friend of his. He was all about bringing people in Park Circle who didn't know each other together," Coker says.
Coker, who first met the thick-bearded Burk seven years ago, adds, "He had a big role in the community feeling and the community spirit that Park Circle has today. He was in the middle of all that from the beginning."
He was also the neighborhood's biggest champion and defender.
According to Robbie Mottinger, manager of the Mill, Burk once heard 1250 WTMA's Rocky D criticizing Park Circle on the radio and promptly called up the host to let him know he was wrong. The two later became friends. "He was the best PR agent that Park Circle ever had," Mottinger says. "Nobody could talk bad about his neighborhood."
Mottinger adds, "I feel honored to have had him in my life. He was always friendly. He was one of the nicest guys you'd ever meet."
North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey was also one of Burk's biggest fans. "Mr. Burk Prysock was truly an intrinsic member of the Park Circle community, a talented artist, and a generous supporter and leader in the area's revitalization," Summey says. "Being the kind of guy that never met a stranger and who was always the first to extend his hand in kindness, Burk touched countless lives over the years. He understood the importance of a strong community, and happily considered everyone to be his neighbor."
The mayor adds, "Burk's unfortunate passing brings sadness to me and all who knew him. In his honor, I ask everyone to carry forth the values that he exhibited and continue to make Park Circle the vibrant neighborhood that he helped create. I am confident that nothing would make Burk happier than to see his community continue to thrive."
Mayor Summey previously gave Burk a key to the city and once declared April 14 to be William "Burk" Prysock Day. Burk was also known for his volunteer work in the Park Circle area, his love of photography, and his skills at word carving.
On Saturday, Burk's family will be hosting a "celebration" of his life at the Felix Davis Community Center at 4 p.m.
Mottinger says, "He's going to be sorely missed in Park Circle. I know everyone's been saying that it feels weird to drive the street and not see his yellow Jeep parked outside of the Mill."
Coker says, "There's going to be a hole in that landscape and in the hearts of Park Circle folks for a little while."