Chalk messages line the sidewalk outside Mandy’s East State Bar in O’Fallon, honoring the death of its former, 15-year owner.
A bottle of Bud Light and a candle were surrounded by dozens of flower bouquets behind the chalk memorial, with small wooden plaques propped up on the vases.
You are the rock of O’Fallon and Shiloh.
You are the heart of this bar.
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Mandy Titze, 57, died Sunday night after she and her husband Bradley hit a deer on their motorcycle in Winona, Minnesota. Their bike veered past the center line and was struck by another car. Mandy Titze was dead by the time emergency responders arrived, and Bradley Titze was taken to the hospital in critical condition. Monday night, he remains critical.
Monday, the night after Titze died, the bar was full of people coming together to mourn their loss.
“She loved with her whole heart and cared about everyone,” said Tina Marshall, one of Titze’s friends. “There wasn’t a person who walked in that door who she didn’t welcome.”
Titze considered everyone who came into her bar family, said Lisa Morton, Mandy Titze’s best friend. She’d text friends after they left the bar, making sure they got home OK.
But she didn’t take any crap, either.
Friends called her a “Pitbull with lipstick” and “Momma Mandy.”
When she noticed someone might have had too much to drink, she’d pull out the glasses of water or Diet Coke, and slide a bag of chips over to them so they could sober up. On Monday nights, when a group of men would come in to shoot their weekly game of pool, Titze would bake cookies or brownies for them to munch on as they played.
“She wanted to keep her family, her people safe,” Morton said.
Titze retired from the bar a month ago in order to spend more time with her husband, who she’d been married to for six years, and their two grandsons.
Titze used to wake up at 4 a.m. to clean the bar up from the night before, organize her books and do inventory. Then at 6 a.m., she’d head off to her day of, spending eight hours laying concrete. Three or four nights a week, she’d also come back and bartend for the night.
On top of all that, she was a single mom.
“She wasn’t afraid to do anything,” Morton said.
Mandy and Bradley Titze were in Minnesota over the weekend to ride their motorcycle. It was something they both loved and did often, Morton said.
Many of the chalk messages on the cement outside Mandy’s reflected their love to ride.
Ride well and fly high. Love and miss you.