Jon L. Townsend… “Big Jon”

December 14, 1962 ‒ January 17, 2015

Morral, Ohio

Our favorite cowboy, Jon L. Townsend, best known as “Big Jon”, blazed a new trail to Heaven early Saturday morning, January 17, 2015, at home surrounded by his loving family.  He was only 52 years old and of Morral.

On December 14, 1962, Jon was born in Marion, Ohio, the youngest of five children of Dolores (Andrews) Townsend, and the late Harvey Townsend.  He graduated from River Valley High School in the Class of 1981, where he excelled in wrestling and placed 2nd in the state.

Big Jon had three loves in his life.  First and foremost, was his beloved family.  When he was only 11 years old, Jon met his future wife in the horse arena at the Marion County Fairgrounds, Robin Brown.  They were only friends throughout school, and started dating shortly after graduating.  They were married on July 16, 1988, and have cherished their thirty three years together.  The most important thing in their lives has always been their two boys, Little Jon and Hayden.

Big Jon’s second love was horses.  He loved everything about horses…riding horses, watching horse, breaking out colts, everything.  Anyone who knew Big Jon knew all of this because he especially loved talking about horses.  Born to ride, Big Jon rode horses his entire life, and when his boys got old enough they all took their riding to the next level together.  The past few years, you would never have known Big Jon was ill, especially because he was out riding and competing well in many competitions, including the Survivor’s Barrels at the Tough Enough to Wear Pink Horse Show.  In 2012, Big Jon was a state finalist in Master Barrels with the International Barrel Racing Association (IBRA).  In 2010, he was the year-end Longe Line Champion with the Ohio Western Horse Association (OWHA).  In 2014, he was the reserve champion in both the Open 4D and the Master 3D Barrels in the Champions Winter Circuit.

Big Jon was a member of IBRA and OWHA.  He also was his boys #1 fan, avidly encouraging his sons in all their pursuits.  He also was a charter member of the Sons of the American Legion Club, at the Harold L. Bradley Squadron American Legion, Post 584.

Big Jon’s third love in his life was trucking.  He started trucking with his older brother, Jay Townsend, when he was 17 years old and they have trucked together ever since.  They are partners in Townsend Brothers Trucking, hauling livestock together, mainly hogs.

One of a kind, Big Jon was the life of every party.  He never met a stranger, and he had a way of making you feel like you were his best friends.  He always made the best out of a bad situation, and could get you to smile no matter what was going on.  He would give you the dollar he didn’t have, and would expect nothing in return.  Big Jon always took charge, and you never had to ask him to do anything.

At the Townsend house, they have an open door policy.  Everyone is always welcome.  Big Jon was a father figure for every young person who came through those doors, and they got his wisdom, guidance and love whether they asked for it or not, because that’s just how Big Jon was.

Left to cherish his memory are his beloved wife, Robin Townsend; two sons: Jon Townsend and Hayden Townsend; all of Morral; his mother, Dolores Townsend of Marion; four siblings: Cathy (Larry) Runyon, Jamie (Bob) Wise, Jay (Tina) Townsend, all of Marion, and Cindy (Phillip) Rollison, of Caledonia; father and mother-in-law: Bill and Diana Brown of Morral; two sisters-in-law: Terri Brown of Lakeview, OH, and Billi (Craig) Rutherford of Prospect; 13 nieces and nephews: Baili Underwood, Ramsi Rutherford, Cory (Vickey) Hughes, Charles (Jessica) Runyon, Nicholas Runyon, Christi (Dan) Hart, Jason (Holly) Wise, Courtney (Alan) Buckland, Jill Townsend, Justin Townsend, Callie (Ben) Lookabaugh, Clay Rollison, and Collin Rollison; and many cousins and dear friends.

His family will greet friends during a celebration gathering from 4 – 8 p.m. on Friday, January 23rd, at the Marion County Fairgrounds, Evers Building, 220 E. Fairground St., Marion.  Services honoring Big Jon’s life will also be held there at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday.  Burial will follow in Grand Prairie Cemetery, with the procession led by Jon’s favorite horse, Buster.  Friends and family are encouraged to return to Evers arena following the burial for a Celebration of Jon’s Life from 12:30 to 4.

Per Big Jon’s request, everyone is encouraged to come in casual attire, preferably jeans and your favorite boots.

His family would like to extend a heartfelt “thank you” to all of the staff of Kindred at Home Hospice, for their tender loving care of Big Jon.

Memorial contributions may be made to help his family with unexpected expenses, and they may be sent to the care of the funeral home.

Denzer-Farison-Hottinger & Snyder Funeral Home is honored to have been chosen to serve Big Jon’s family and your condolences may be expressed to them by visiting

  • I am so sorry to hear of Jon’s passing today. My thoughts and prayers are with you. I have so many fond childhood memories of Jon and his family growing up. Jon will always be by your side with every thought and memory you share. I’d like to share this beautiful song that I hope will bring you some peace . Happy Trails Jon, rest in peace.
    I wish his family peace & strength. My deepest sympathy, Cathy Rollison-Krist

  • There will be times over the next days, months and years that you will feel him as close as skin; or he will consume your thoughts at random moments. These are gifts from him to remind you that he is still with you and a promise of an endless future together.

  • Robin and family,
    Words can not express our saddness in hearing of Jon’s passing. Please know that you are in ours thoughts and prayers. May God give you peace during this difficult time. Blessed are those that mourn for they will be comforted.
    Love, Julie & Libby Swihart

  • Robin & Sons: There are no words to express my sorrow of what you are going through right now with the passing of Jon. Praying that you will have peace through this difficult time and that you will remember and cherish your time with Jon. Husband, father, brother & son…what a wonderful guy!

  • I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m praying for you and your family, Hayden. Nothing anyone can say will ease the pain. But he’s resting peacefully. Hang in there! Love you guys!

  • So so sorry for your loss Robin & family. Please know I am thinking of you and sending prayers during this difficult time. Hugs……♡♡♡

  • I’m not good with what to say with this stuff but I loved my uncle and I’m glad I spent this summer with him and Hayden and I will always remember his life lessons he taught me. Also his jokes. Every time time I get down about it I can hear him saying “quit messing around there’s stuff to get done” and it makes me laugh. Love ya Big Jon. Hopefully there’s a horse as fast as your “prize winnin stallion”(buster) up there for ya.

  • Robin & Boys, We are so very sorry for your great loss. Please know we are thinking of you all. Hugs & prayers

  • Robin, and boys, didn”t know big Jon, as well as the 3 of you, but I am sorry for
    your loss. Wishing you all the very best in these trying times

  • I met Jon at the old Marion Quarter Pony shows. I can’t claim to have known him well. But I knew him well enough to know he was a good man. He leaves a legacy of which any man would be proud. Please accept sincerest condolences from my family and me. You are in our thoughts and prayers. RJ

  • All of you have our prayers and condolences – although we only knew you though the Marion Quarter Pony shows there were still many memories

  • We are deeply saddened to hear of Big Jon’s passing. We know how much Jon loved his family and you loved him back. I pray that your many memories will bring you comfort. I believe Jon is riding on the biggest most beautiful stalion in heaven watching over you from now on. Do great things and make him proud.

  • To the whole Townsend Family, you have our deepest sympathy. We only have memories of Jon when he was younger, being a little rascal!!! You will be in our thoughts and prayers.
    Feelings from Iowa,
    The Andrews; Phil, Dale, Evelyn (Bug), & Rex (Butch)

  • Our deepest sympathy to the entire Townsend family. Praying the good memories live on in your hearts, and take your pain away.

  • Our sincere sympathy & prayers to the Townsend Family and Baili.

    In Rev. 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be anymore pain: for the former things are passed away.

    Hold the faith! Larry & Laura Underwood

  • Robin and Boys we are so sorry for the loss of Jon. It is the most difficult thing we go through in our lives. Many prayers for you and your whole family.
    Condolences from Connie, John and Andi

  • Heaven has gained an amazing angel. Big Jon’s time on earth is reflected in all the lives he has touched and wonderful memories we have and mostly in his never ending love and dedication to Robin, Jon and Hayden. Love and prayers to all of you.

  • Coming from a large family with many siblings the same age as the Townsends, it has been and still is a huge privilege to call the family (and other extensions through marriage) our friends. Big Jon was something very special!! Never ever have I met a man that brought smiles to every single person he ever came in contact with! And did so usually within the first conversation or two and every one after that!! On the flip side, he also was a guy that could reach out to those same people and offer them help for any reason any time.

    I speak for the entire Lawrence clan when I say I’m sorry for your loss and may God bless everyone as the deal with this loss.

    Don’t tip a barrel in the sky Big Jon!…………..”hiyaa”

    Matt Lawrence

  • Robin , you and your family are in all of our thoughts and prayers.
    Jenni , Michael , Noah , Gracian, Sofia, and Aiden Daugherty

  • Robin,boys and the entire Townsend family we send our sincerest condolences to you. May God be with you through your roughest days. heaven has gained another wonderful horseman, caring, thoughtful and helpful. never at a loss for words always offering up humor to make you smile. That is how I remember Jon from my 4h days and I’m positive he didn’t change. Always a kid at heart. These are the memories that many will hold on to. Thoughts and prayers to you all.

  • To the whole Townsend Family, it is so hard to lose a family member to a terrible disease like cancer. We know your pain having lost our sister, Faye Dawn, at 57 to pancreatic cancer. Our hearts and our prayers go out to you all from the cousins from Minnesota. Jim and Dennis Andrews and Ruth Andrews Potter and our families.

  • My condolences Robin to you and all of your families. I knew Jon when he was little Jon. First grade. Am saddened to hear of his passing. I have fond memories of him when we were in school. My thoughts are with you.

  • Dear Family,
    30+ years ago, I had the unforgettable pleasure of knowing Jon. As a wrestler, he was intense, hard-working, and genuinely-devoted to his team — always willing to pitch-in and lead quietly, by example. As a person off the mat, he was someone respected, namely because he never tried to stand-out. Rather, Jon was humble, very humble … Always willing to help, especially when no one was looking. In his own unique way, he shunned the spotlight & took greater joy helping others succeed.
    Jon has left a powerful legacy: One not of words, but of actions & example.
    To his Family & many friends, my deepest sympathy —
    Jeffrey A. Linardi (coach/teacher, RVHS)
    & Family

  • To Robin and family, He is going to be sadly missed. I have many memories of Jon. He trucked hogs for me for twelve years until i retired. Their was never a dull moment from the time he arrived ( usually a little late) until he was loaded and left. Things were even worse when Jay was their at the same time. I even had the chance to ride with Jon on one occasion. Rest in peace Jon.

  • To all my “Little Townsends” each of you are in my prayers and in my heart, which is so heavy with such sadness for losing Jon. As soon as i learned of Jon’s illness i put him on our prayer list at my church. God and each other will be your greatest comfort in the days to come. I am so looking forward to seeing each of you and meeting all your families and much hugging and kissing, from your old babysitter, Sheryl. I know Mother and Dad were there to greet Jon when he arrived in Heaven.

  • To The Townsend Family, I am sorry to hear of your loss. Jon was a great guy and was always there for advise in his knowledge of horses. Many times in my travels I would see his rig going past and I’d hail him and it didn’t matter how many years had passed since leaving Marion he always remembered me and we would chat till losing each other. Rest assure he is resting good and most likely having long talks with his Dad.

  • Robin and sons,
    Our hearts go out to you and the boys. You are in our prayers and thoughts.
    God Bless and Keep..

  • I hadn’t seen Jon for many years but he wasn’t someone that could be forgotten. He helped me out a lot during my county fair years. What a good guy he was and so funny. My thoughts and prayers to the family.

  • Robin and family, we are sorry to hear about the passing of Jon. Sending our prayers to you and family.

  • To the family of my friend Jon thought n preys go out to each of you. Jon n I was friends in school. I haven’t seen Jon for years. He will be missed. R.I.P. Jon thanks for showing me wrestling moves. Had a lot of good times around one other.

  • To the Townsend family,you are in our thoughts and prayers, from the Eilers in Iowa. I hadn’t seen Jon for quite a few years, but I remember when Harvey and Delores would come back to Iowa when we were kids, the gatherings at Ruth and Larrys, all the cousins! Back then he was little Jon, cherish the memories.


  • My deepest sympathy and condolences to Jon’s Family…. The entire Townsend Family are in my prayers…

  • So sorry to hear of the loss of Jon. He trucked for us for many years. He was one of a kind. with deepest sympathy.

  • Robin & Boys, just want to send our sincere condolences. Prayers up to heaven for all of you. But keep in mind, this is a temporary home for all of us and one day you will be reunited. God Bless you All! And may he bring peace and joy to your hearts.