By KYLE LOVERN
DELBARTON – She probably saw more Burch High School athletic events and also fed more residents on Pigeon Creek than anybody and Audra Erwin Calton was indeed an icon of Delbarton.
She passed away Wednesday night, April 11 at age 77.
Erwin ran a downtown restaurant for nearly 40 years, where she cooked daily specials and homemade meals on an old wood burning stove.
Facebook lit up with prayers and memories of Erwin on Thursday morning.
“You have never really had the true Burch High School experience unless you spent your lunch time at Audra’s Restaurant. The best of my high school years in the 1970’s were spent there at lunch and after majorette practice good times with Marcia Price. She will be missed and the memories there will never be forgotten,” said Tammy Patrick Hess, a Burch graduate.
Audra would go in to the restaurant around 3:00 or 4:00 a.m. in the morning and start cooking breakfast for the early risers when she opened the doors at 6:00 a.m. She would work and fix lunch and early dinner specials till around 5:00 p.m. That’s when she would usually get ready to head out to a Burch ballgame, football, or boy’s and girls’ basketball games.
She started working at the restaurant while she was in high school when it was called Aunt Mary’s, and later became the owner and changed the name to Audra’s Restaurant.
“Audra was a legend in the Delbarton area. She gave freely to all who knew her,” said Delbarton businessman Steve Cook. “She dearly loved Burch High School sports. There was hardly a game she ever missed in basketball or football. She carried that tradition on as she supported Mingo Central this year.”
“Audra will forever be remembered for always being there. She was famous for her cheeseburgers, beef stew and chicken–n-dumplings. Audra had a unique ‘old style’ of cooking on a coal stove. There will never be another Audra.”
Deservedly, she was presented a plaque at the closing of Burch High School as the most loyal fan.
“She was a great person who really loved the kids, especially from Delbarton. She will be missed,” said David Hanshaw, a former basketball player and coach at Burch.
An avid Burch Bulldog fan, she cheered for many family members who suited up in the blue and white of BHS. Most notably she was proud of her nephew Billy Erwin, a former all-state basketball player in the early 1990s.
“She used to ride with my brother Bill, mom, Rhonda Stepp and me to my games when I played in high school basketball,” said retired Burch coach Mike Smith. “She probably watched more Burch games than anyone.”
She was extremely loyal to her hometown school and to Erwin.
Audra will be missed by many, not only in the Delbarton area, but by many of her friends and acquaintances in the Mingo County area.