John R. “Big John” Townsend Jr., 66, of Millsboro, Del., passed away on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, at Milford Memorial Hospital in Milford, Del. He was born May 25, 1952, in Milford, son of the late John Townsend and Hilda (Lynch) Townsend.
Townsend was a 1970 graduate of Indian River High School. He was an entrepreneur who owned and operated Townsend’s Total Performance in Dagsboro, Del., in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He was well-known throughout the racing community for his engine-building skills and ability to get performance out of an engine.
He then operated Townsend’s Farm Markets from 1985 to 1992, having produce stands in the Long Neck, Millsboro, Lewes, South Bethany and Dagsboro areas. In 1993, he became an independent district operator for the Daily Times newspaper, where he managed about 75 percent of the distribution of daily, weekly and free publications.
Townsend will be remembered as a loving and devoted father and grandfather, and for his unbelievable knowledge of building of high-performance race engines. He also was respected for his willingness to take on a challenge, including taking risks in business.
Townsend is survived by his two children, Rusty Townsend and his wife, Ashley, of Milford, Del., and Michelle Townsend of Frankford, Del.; two grandchildren, Madyson Townsend and Jackson Townsend; two brothers, Donald Townsend and his wife, Alicia, of Downingtown, Pa., Roy Townsend of Millsboro, Del.; the mother of his two children, Susan Townsend of Millsboro; and several nieces and nephews.
A celebration of Townsend’s life will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018, at the Selbyville Volunteer Fire Company, 30 N. Main Street, Selbyville, Del. In lieu of flowers, the family requested memorial donations be sent to the Georgetown Speedway, for the John Townsend Memorial Big Block Feature at their Mid-Atlantic Championships on Oct. 27, 2018. All donations will be paid out to the winning driver as a bonus from the friends and family of “Big John” Townsend. Donations should be made payable to BD Motorsports Media; 26781 Curlew Way, Millsboro, DE 19966. Condolences may be sent online at www.melsonfuneralservices.com.