Sarah Lee Ishup got a job as a waitress at Avalon Diner in 1969 when she was 22 years old. Over the next 43 years, she became a legendary presence at the restaurant and a regular part of many Houstonian's lives before passing away at age 65 on Aug. 8.
"She got to know customers and other employees so well. Even if they hadn't been in for months or years she knew them and their family," says Avalon Diner owner Coy Ramsey. "She's one of the reasons people think of Avalon as the same restaurant they grew up with."
"She's one of the reasons people think of Avalon as the same restaurant they grew up with."
"She always had a minute to visit. She will be missed," writes Cindy Craft on Avalon's Facebook page. "She was a lovely person with a quiet dignity about her," adds Nadene Crain, who also mentioned Ishup's memorable Go Texan day outfits.
Ishup was at work when she began feeling weak on Wednesday. Medical assistance was called, but Ishup suffered a massive heart attack in the ambulance and could not be revived.
Ishup's funeral is Saturday at 11 a.m. at Church at Bethel's Family. In addition, a fund has been set up to assist her family at the Bank of River Oaks.
Ishup had nine children, seven of whom survive her, as well as more than 40 grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. She is being remembered at Avalon with a photo on display as well as flowers and condolences from those whose lives she touched.
Avalon Diner will remain open on Saturday, but the staff will honor Sarah's memory with red roses and a moment of silence.