Wednesday, January 7, 2015

John Robert Townley

    John Robert Townley, 49, of Howe, OK passed away Monday, January 5, 2015 in Howe.  John was born January 3, 1966 in Lecompte, LA to Edwin & Audrey (Wiggins) Townley.  He was a ranch foreman.  John was a big-hearted and hard working husband, Popa, PawPaw, son, brother, uncle, nephew, cousin & faithful friend.  He loved Jesus, his family and friends with everything in him.  He loved ranching and teaching his grandson about all kinds of things.  The love for his family always showed and his grandson, Chasen “Moses Macrae” was the light of his life.  He was preceded in death by his special baby, Bradley Alan Saunders, grandparents, Milburn Townley, Leonard & Lucille Wiggins; sister, Sherry Patterson; father in law, Bud Williams.
     John is survived  by his wife, Tonya (Williams) Townley of the home; daughter & son in law, Chris & Courtney Bullard of Howe, OK; son & daughter in law, James & Amanda Townley of Bengal, OK; grandson, Chasen Macrae Bullard of Howe, OK; his parents Edwin & Audrey Townley of Elmer, LA; parents in law, Joe & Wynema Rivaldo of Booneville, AR; Grandma, Ella Townley of Elmer, LA; brother & sister in law, Jeff & Delores Townley of Glenmora, LA, brother in law, David Patterson of Salem, MO, sister in law & husband, Jim & Rhonda Dodson of Booneville, AR, sisters in law, Cheryl Williams of Booneville, AR, Jayme Rivaldo of Pensacola, FL; other relatives, loved ones and friends.
     Services will be 1 pm, Friday, January 9, 2015 at Bethel Baptist Church, Wister, OK with Joe Rivaldo  officiating.  Interment will be in Maxey Cemetery, Wister, OK.   Pallbearers will be James, Jeff, John & Devin Townley, Chris Bullard, Chancy Byrum, Derek Chavez, David Williams.  Honorary pallbearers will be  Lucky Graham, Jeff Luman, Steven Patterson, Matthew & Jared Patterson.
     The family will be at the funeral home on Thursday evening from 6-8 pm to visit with relatives & friends.


Anonymous said...

Although I have known John since kindergarten, my first distinct memory of John Townley was, as a second baseman, watching John, playing first base, catch a pop fly that was the final out of a baseball game in Poland, Louisiana, in the summer of 1974 or 1975.

John was smart and quick-witted when I knew him. We had a classmate whose family was extremely religious. One day, John, that classmate and I were standing in line for lunch in the Oak Hill cafeteria and the subject of a newspaper article that had been recently published about the classmate’s family was being discussed. The article noted that the classmate’s family did not own a television and all of the children knew how to play musical instruments. Someone asked the classmate why he didn’t watch television and he asked what he thought was a rhetorical question, “Do they have televisions in Heaven?” Without skipping a beat, John replied, “Well I don’t know, I’ve never been. Have you?”

In eighth grade I sat next to John in math class. John was one of several students who had little trouble with the basic algebra and multiplication and division of fractions that were the most difficult part of that class. Because John would move with his family shortly after that, we didn’t have many further classes together.

We played basketball together in 8th grade and John moved with his family to Mena, Arkansas sometime after 8th grade. We kept in touch by writing a few letters and he stopped by my house during the summer of 1980, possibly to tell me that he was going to be moving. We had been very close friends during 8th grade.

During the summer of 1981, I worked raising and selling watermelons with my grandfather. At the end of the summer I had saved up all the money that I made and used part of it to buy a stereo. The rest I used to pay for a round-trip bus ticket to Mena to visit John. During that week, we went to a drive-in and watched a double feature that included Friday the 13th and Clash of the Titans. We watched those movies while sitting on the tailgate of John’s pickup. I remember going to a Wal Mart for the first time. The sign has lost the “M” so John referred to it as a “Wal Art.” While I was up there, Robert Merchant and Ray Brodnax came up with John’s dad who was coming back home from working offshore. The four of us knocked around for a few days visiting Queen Wilhelmina State Park, riding the train there, and tubing down the Fork River or one of the other rivers near there. Robert, Ray and I went back home riding in the back of Mr. Townley’s pickup truck all the way from Mena to Calcasieu, along the way driving through Texarkana on the street that divides it between Arkansas and Texas.

John was missed by everyone while he was gone. I recall Teresa Murphy commenting at lunch that it seemed different without him at the table. Teresa is one of the other members of the class that has died recently.

John and his family moved back to Calcasieu and he finished high school at Oak Hill. After returning, he was on the track team. Our senior year at track meet in Oakdale, some girls were walking by and made a flirty comment. I remember John coached me on how to respond.

I also recall being in a car or on a bus and John telling a joke that kind of got everybody. We were at a railroad crossing and John pronounced that a “train had been through here.” He then asked, “do you know how I can tell?” No one knew, but someone asked, “how?” John said, “It left its tracks!” Everyone laughed and groaned a little but he had gotten all of us.

I never saw John again after high school. I called and talked to him when I was helping to organize our class’ 10 year reunion in 1994. We talked briefly about what each other had been doing in the intervening years. That was the last I spoke to him.

Even though I hadn’t seen or spoken to him in so long, hearing about his death today was like hearing about the death of a family member. He will be missed by many. I can’t travel to his funeral in Oklahoma, but I offer my condolences to all of his family and friends.

Eric Miller

Terrah said...

Rip John T