Willis “Punky” Towne, Jr. passed away July 22, 2019, at his home in Davis surrounded by his family following a short illness. He was born the first of three sons (Willis, Charles, and Thomas) to Carolyn Montgomery and Willis Towne, Sr. His family was one of the first pioneer families to Yolo County, settling in Davisville in 1850 where they raised grain and thoroughbreds. Through the generations, horse racing and farming continued to be the mainstays.
He attended Central Davis Elementary School and then went to Christian Brothers High School where he excelled in football, basketball and track. It was football that earned him a scholarship to Santa Clara University following high school. But after only one year, the football program folded and he accepted a scholarship to Wichita University in Kansas, where he continued his education and would meet Sharon Nufer on a blind date. They married and returned to Davis where they raised five children; Bill, Susan, Julie, Kathy and Liz.
Will was a business owner most of his life. He also had the horse racing blood in his veins. He was the proud owner of many fine thoroughbreds that raced at various California tracks. Every year you would find him at the State Fair with a VIP box, where he invited family and friends to join him to watch the races.
Sports was the common denominator in the Towne family. You would find Will either coaching, playing or watching games every given opportunity. His kids gave him great joy and he was proud of all their accomplishments. In his later years, he enjoyed watching his grandkids play sports when he could.
Will had a smile that would light up a room. He was a giving person and was always there to help out a friend. He continued his lifelong friendships with his Christian Brothers alum, attending breakfasts, lunches, and special events. He loved being a part of the “brotherhood”.
For years he participated as a bartender at the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee. It would bring together all his Davis friends and he loved being amongst all the great music and jazz lovers. Among other things, Will enjoyed golfing but would admit it was not his best sport.
In 2017, Will moved back to Davis from Sacramento where he lived with his oldest daughter Susan, who along with her sisters, took care of him until his death. It gave all of his kids great pleasure to be able to spend such amazing quality time with him the last year and a half of his life.
Willis was preceded in death by his parents Carolyn and Willis Towne, Sr., brother Charles, wife Sally Towne, and granddaughter Kelsey Brady. He will be deeply missed by his children Bill Towne (Laurie), Susan Towne, Julie Sheehan (Mike), Kathy Brady (Kraig), and Liz Gilbert (Wayne). He is also survived by his brother, Thomas Montgomery Towne and his children Tom Jr. and Brooke, grandchildren Shaundra, William, Kyle and Kayla Towne, Hilary Wolf, Connor Day, Tyler Mortensen, Devin and Abbey Brady as well as his great grandchildren Luke and Leighton Wolf.
A Celebration of Life will be held Friday, September 6th at the Stonegate Country Club from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his name to the Christian Brothers Scholarship Fund or Yolo Hospice.
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