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In Memory

Larry Towns

From Wichita Eagle Dining With Denise Neil

Longtime Wichita restaurant owner who found joy socializing with customers has died at 77


A longtime Wichita restaurateur who found his joy shooting the breeze with his customers has died. Larry Towns, the owner of Wichita Fish Co. at 818 N. Mosley, died on Monday of congestive heart failure, said his youngest daughter, Neeley Towns. He was 77. Towns, who took over the Wichita Fish Co. in 1997, when it was still on West Douglas, loved nothing more than to sit in his restaurant, answer the phones and talk with customers, his daughter said.

His health had been declining for some time, and in January of 2020, Neeley even started a Go Fund Me campaign to help her father and mother, Judy, keep the restaurant going while Larry battled heart troubles and prostate cancer. He eventually recovered enough to get back to work, though the family closed his preferred hangout spot — the Haysville Fish Co. at 7301 S. Broadway in Haysville — a year ago. After that, he set up shop at the restaurant on Mosley, where the family moved the Douglas location in August 2020, and had a fan club there, too, Neeley said. $2 for 2 months Subscribe for unlimited access to our website, app, eEdition and more CLAIM OFFER

In early November, though, Towns became ill again and had to return to the hospital. After a while, when he hadn’t improved, a nurse suggested hospice care for Towns. “The only thing he told her is, ‘I need to get better so I can get to the fish shop and answer the phones,’” Neeley said. While in the hospital, he would frequently ask his family if anyone at the restaurant had inquired after him. Towns died in his sleep on Monday, his daughter said. Her mother closed the restaurant on Tuesday but opened it back up today. “He worked hard for it, so we don’t want to close it,” Neeley said. “We’re not going to close it.” More than 50 years ago, Towns started working as a seafood wholesaler in Wichita. Then, 24 years ago, he teamed up with a partner to take over the Wichita Fish Co. on West Douglas, then a fish retailer. They kept the retail side of the business but eventually, it became more of a restaurant known for its fried catfish, pollock, popcorn shrimp, battered clams, fried oysters and grilled fish.

Towns added the Haysville location in 2010 Neeley said she’ll remember her father for his sense of humor and friendliness. “I don’t think my dad knew what a stranger was,” she said. “He didn’t leave a place without meeting a friend.”

Towns is survived by his wife, Judy, his children Neeley, Zach, Reynolds, Rania, Stephanie, Holly Towns Backus, Christopher Zimbleman, Brenda Neal, Dana Wilson and Steven Blalock; and 34 grandchildren. There will be a viewing from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Monday at Cochran Mortuary, 1411 N. Broadway, followed by an 11 a.m. services

Read more at: https://www.kansas.com/entertainment/restaurants/dining-with-denise-neil/article257253822.html#storylink=cpy

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01/15/22 10:11 AM #1    

Judith Baldwin (Jones)

Rest in peace Larry.  Prayers for your family who will miss you very much.  I remember you from home room at school.  You will be remembered always as a super nice guy.

01/15/22 07:53 PM #2    

Judith (Judi) Fellers

Please  accept my sincere condolences to the Towns family and friends.   I was saddened to read Larry had passed,  May he R.I.P.  Thoughts and prayers are with you all  during this very difficult time.

Judi Fellers

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