Life Matters Newsletter - Spring 2022
Local restaurateur, John Love, Jr., is inspired to give back to the organization that took care of both of his parents during a fragile time in their lives.
How do you show your gratitude to the organization that comforted your family during the final days of two loved ones? The care your father and mother received merited more than a simple thank you, even though the work itself is reward enough for the doctors, nurses, other staff and volunteers. What's a bereaved son to do?
In John Love's case, you do what you do best. The co-owner of Red Rocks, he prepared his restaurant's signature she crab soup and donated it to Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region for Soup On Sunday. What a perfect gesture! The soup supports the cause and warms the souls of those who purchase it each winter just as HPCCR warms the souls of those it serves.
John is honored to talk about all of this, with one exception. When asked what he puts in the she crab soup to make it sell out each year at Soup On Sunday, he smiles coyly and says, "I can't tell you that."
Spoken like a true restaurateur.
John Love has long been a Soup On Sunday stalwart, which helps explain how HPCCR sold all 23 quarts of the donated she crab soup.
A Charlotte native, John has devoted his life to restaurants. With his brother, Dave, he opened Loafers on East Independence Boulevard in 1987. Today, John co-owns (with Ron Herbert) the Charlotte institution, Red Rocks Cafe, Bar & Bakery. The first one opened in 1992 in the Strawberry Hill shopping center. Thirty years! That's rare for a restaurant, and a testament to the great food (steaks, pasta and such), neighborly atmosphere and John's welcoming presence. Two more Red Rocks have opened in Huntersville and Indian Land, SC. With a smile, because he loves the business, John says he used to think construction workers had the hardest job. Then he started running restaurants.
Like so many, John's heart for HPCCR was borne of the blend of loss and comfort that defines who we are and what we do.
His story is ennobled by the memories he clings to from his parents' passing at two of our hospice houses. He was at their bedside each time.
John's father, James Love, was 85 when he died at the Levine & Dickson Hospice House at Southminster on March 2, 2016. It's on the campus of the south Charlotte retirement community. He remembers telling his dad it was OK to let go. He heard his dad's last breath, then a final sigh, then he was gone. Through it all, John was wrapped emotionally in the tender arms of everyone there, including those who placed a
prayer shawl over his dad when the time came.
John's mother, Jane Love, was 86 when she died at the Levine& Dickson Hospice House - Huntersville on December 14, 2018.
The Levine & Dickson Hospice House - Huntersville is set amid a wooded area, and John remembers it snowing that day. "It was like being in a winter wonderland," he says, "Like being in a mountain cabin."
The snow falling on the garden. The warmth of the 16-bed house with its family room and fireplace, interfaith chapel and other quiet spaces. Those are the warm feelings he remembers after having such a difficult day, and those memories remain to this day.
"I remember it being peaceful, respectful, comfortable, meaningful and individual," John says. "Everything was quiet. You felt like you were the only person there." He remembers something more. "The friendliness of the staff. I said to myself, 'I wish I could be like these people."'
And that's the story behind why John Love donates she crab soup for Soup On Sunday. It's the best way he knows how to say thank you from the bottom of his heart.
Visit https://www.hpccr.org/life-matters-spring-2022 to read more from our Spring 2022 Edition of the Life Matters Newsletter.