DES MOINES, Iowa — Knees buckled and hearts ached as word of Sir William Bekish’s death swept through Des Moines.
“My son was amazing. Everyone knew him, everybody loved him,” said Carletta Sanders, Bekish’s mother.
Bekish was shot and killed early Sunday morning outside of Karma Ultra Lounge. Calvetta Williams, founder of Mothers Against Violence, said the 29-year-old Des Moines native was the victim of the same violence he so often rallied against. “It struck my soul,” said Williams. “He would be the first one to say stop the violence. He supported Mothers Against Violence from day one.”
Family gathered Sunday night at Evelyn K. Davis Park and they continue holding onto hope that the person who pulled the trigger will be brought to justice. Bekish’s uncle, Rico Evans, said, “This is our opportunity to make change in our black community, but we have to get rid of our ignorance. We have to rise.”
As his family mourns, it used to be Sir William who had a habit of using his talents to heal others. Williams said, “He came to several services when people had passed and sung at their services.”
From September 2018 until August 2019, Bekish owned and operated his own restaurant called Sir’s Kitchen on the east side of Des Moines. Friends say his soul food had a way of breaking down color barriers. “He would bring people together. I had been to his restaurant several times and all shades of colors from young to old,” Williams said.
From sizzling sounds in the kitchen or holding a melody, Bekish often led by example like opening his restaurant with his son by his side. “I know that he’s going to live on in my heart and in my soul and in all of you guys’ spirits,” said Sanders.
The community is at a loss for words because they so often turned to Bekish, who had a soulful way of saying goodbye. “Just going down my news feed with R.I.P. in front of his name and behind his name is just crazy to me. He wasn’t about that life or violence. I’m thinking like who is singing for Sir now?”
Until Bekish’s death, he had been the executive chef at Club 525 in Des Moines’ East Village neighborhood. The restaurant has been closed since his death but plans to reopen Tuesday.