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Slain Green Duck Owner Remembered At Community Birthday Barbeque

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Lisa Rodriguez
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KCUR 89.3
People gathered across the street from the Green Duck Lounge to celebrate the birthday of the club's late owner, Jimmy Townsend.

"Mr. Townsend...you couldn't find a better person than that person," says Lola Madrigal, remembering her friend Jimmy Townsend, the late owner of the Green Duck Lounge in Kansas City.

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Credit Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3
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KCUR 89.3
Abel Titsworth was friends with Townsend for more than 40 years. He says every year for his birthday, Townsend would prepare and give food to the needy for three days straight.

Madrigal joined a big group of Townsend's friends and family across the street from his club on Saturday to celebrate his birthday by carrying on one of his favorite traditions.

"For three days, as long as I can remember, forty years or more. Just fed everybody, anybody who would come through — free. Three days, every year for his birthday," says Abel Titsworth, a close friend of Townsend. 

Townsend was murdered late last year.

Titsworth says continuing the tradition in his friend's honor was the least he could do.

Saturday proved the perfect day for an outdoor party. Just after noon, three big smokers were already hard at work, an assortment of more than 20 pies and desserts lined the tables, and the sound of funk music could be heard blocks away.

One by one, curious neighbors started walking over to join the party. 

Willa Sutton worked for Townsend for 46 years, first at Jimmy's and Dee's Steakhouse on 29th and Prospect and later at the Green Duck.

Surveying the crowd, Sutton said Townsend probably helped out each person there in some way or another.  

"Anything he could do for you he did for you and for anybody, not just employees. He was a good man. Loveable man," she says. 

She says friends and family still don't have any more information about the details surrounding his murder. 

"I just hope they'll be able to catch the one that did it," Sutton says. 

Townsend's murder was the city's 106th homicide on 2015. As of October 28, the Kansas City Police Department has reported 100 homicides so far in 2016.

The Kansas City Police Department did not respond to KCUR's inquiry about the status of the Townsend investigation. 

Lisa Rodriguez is a reporter for KCUR 89.3 Connect with her on Twitter @larodrig

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