Andrew “Jay” Townley, 57, of Gardner, passed away Nov. 5, 2018. Jay was born March 14, 1961, in Sparta, Ill., to A.J. and Donia Townley. The youngest of five children, Jay would remember fondly all the mischief and fun he got into as a child. He would watch “In the Heat of the Night” and point out one of the homes he lived in right across from the train depot and remember where on those tracks his dog Train was buried.
Jay was always interested in how things worked and would often get into trouble taking things apart and putting them back together. After high school, Jay moved to Louisiana where he decided to learn the refrigeration trade. It was here that he began his life’s work. He retired in August of 2015 from Pipefitter’s Local 533.
Jay met Suzie in 1993. They moved to Arizona, so Suzie could go to ASU and returned a year later to be married at her father’s house north of Tonganoxie on July 2, 1994. That was one of two times Jay wore a suit willingly. They left on their “honeymoon” in a 1964 Buick GS they bought in and drove back from Arizona. They returned the next day to fish in his father-in-law’s pond. He loved cars, driving them and restoring them, fishing anywhere, hunting and dogs.
Jay had a profound love for animals. He once rescued a baby starling that had fallen from the eves of the house he and Suzie built. Without feathers or eyes yet open, he and Suzie fed the bird pieces of night crawlers every 15 minutes until it could hop around and look for them itself. “Fred” became a legend of sorts at Gardner Lake when he would land on the head of some unsuspecting visitor or some poor fisherman’s head trying to get the bait.
And music. Jay loved music. An extensive record and CD collection, Jay loved to restore, design and build vacuum tube amplifiers. He loved finding new uses for vacuum tubes that everyone else thought were just junk. And he loved listening to his music – from Eminem to Del McCoury. He loved blue grass, old country, Queen and AC/DC. Jay had a heart as big as the ocean. He would do anything for anyone. He would say that he could fix just about anything except an S-10 radio and a broken heart. He was an excellent mechanic taking every chance he could get to learn from his mentors or go to a school. He always prayed that his knowledge wouldn’t die with him, and he found many young pipefitters to share it with. Jay will be missed by so many family and friends.
Jay was preceded in death by his parents and sister, Deborah Townley. He is survived by his wife, Suzie, of the home; siblings: Ed and wife Debra Townley, Fla, Fred and wife Sherry Townley, Mo., Sharon and husband Keith Butler, Sparta, Il.; two daughters, Darcy Hutchison and Kerry Jay Townley; 12 nieces and nephews, grand-nieces and nephews.
Visitation was Nov. 12, 2018 at Bruce Funeral Home, Gardner. Mass of Christian Burial was Nov. 13, at Divine Mercy Catholic Church Gardner. Burial followed at St. Columbia Catholic Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Prairie Paws Animal Shelter, Ottawa. Condolences may be left at