Grady Towns, PhD
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Wednesday morning, September 9, 2020, Grady Wilbert Towns, 83, passed peacefully in his sleep at his Denver home.

In high school Grady washed windows and waited tables to help support his mother and siblings; a good student and class leader, he graduated from Langston Junior and Senior High School in Hot Springs, Arkansas. He worked as a waiter on Michigan's Mackinac Island to help pay tuition for the honors B.S. degree (Biology) he received from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (formerly Arkansas AM&N). He remained grateful to the AM&N educators who, at that historically Black institution, imparted the life skills of toughness, spirituality, focus, and endurance. He worked as a graduate Teaching Assistant at the University of Utah and environmental contractor while he earned an M.S. degree (Biology) and a PhD (Ecology).

A Veteran of the United States Army, he worked on classified projects at Utah's Tooele Army Depot and Dugway Proving Ground. He spent his 30-year Federal career with the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service as one of few Black natural resource scientists. An Ecologist, he analyzed the environmental impacts of large controversial projects - often negotiating with private landowners, State and Federal regulators, international government representatives, military officers, and elected officials. Motivated by the segregation barriers he overcame in his life, he strongly supported laws and programs to reduce systemic racism and obstacles to the empowerment of African Americans and others. He helped to expand opportunities and encouraged Black students to consider scientific careers, to be prepared and open to career opportunities in unfamiliar places, and to use their education and skills to ""do good.""

Grady loved the West, skiing, camping, hiking, and golf. He was a member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity. Dr. Towns made civic contributions as Vice-President of the 490-family Hyland Greens Homeowners' Association. He served as President and Membership Chair of the 500-member Slippers-n-Slider's Ski Club that is committed to introducing Blacks to winter sports; he also nominated Charles Smith, the first Black person to be inducted into the prestigious Colorado Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame. He and his local golfing buddies painted the then newly constructed Our Faith Baptist Church in the heart of Denver's Five Points. Grady also worked on Presidential campaigns, and refurbished computers for inner-city families. He was a member of Second Baptist Church (Boulder, CO), but was most recently associated with Our Faith Baptist Church, Reverend Luther J. Whatley, Pastor, and friend.

Born October 15, 1936, to Viola Dessie Banks and Bennie Towns, he was predeceased by them and his brother, James Towns. Devoted to family, he is survived by Eleanor Saunders Towns, wife of 43 years; daughter, Erika Wyrick Klafehn; son, Brandon Scott (Yvette) Towns; grandsons, Adrian Joseph Towns and Miles Xavier Klafehn; granddaughter, Isabel Alyssa Towns; sister, Berniece Towns Frenche (Stockton, CA); and cousins, Shirley Dismuke (Detroit, MI), Ervin Jones, MD (Cape Charles, VA), Geneva Buggs Brown (St. Louis, MO), Bertha (John) Sims (Hot Springs, AR), Helen Buggs Singleton (DeSoto, TX), William Murray and Deserine Lawson (Las Vegas, NV), and Rutha Buggs Jones, Thelma Banks Green, and Vernestine Banks Thompson (Los Angeles, CA). He will also be missed by a host of nieces, nephews, and friends.

Dr. Grady Wilbert Towns lived his talk.

The family will be forever grateful for the competent, compassionate assistance we received from the doctors, nurses, certified nursing assistants, social worker, and chaplain at Denver Hospice and the caretakers from the Denver Safe at Home agency for guiding us through this final leg of his journey.

A celebratory memorial event will be held when COVID permits.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in www.denverpost.com on Sep. 13, 2020.
Memories & Condolences
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16 entries
September 16, 2020
Dear Ellie, Erika, Brandon, Grandchildren,
The Chain Family sends our deepest sympathy for your loss. Know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. It was great to have you all as our neighbors in Hyland Greens for many years. Grady spent a lot of time with my son Brett and Brandon in their younger years.- he involved them in all different types of fun activities. I always appreciate his involvement with the boys. Please know that your friends love you and are here for you. What a beautiful life he lived. I’m so very sorry
for your loss.
Candis L. Chain
Neighbor
September 15, 2020
It was always a pleasure to be in Grady's presence. He will be fondly remembered for years to come. May God bring comfort to his family and all who will miss his earthly presence.
Charles and Linda Bates Leali
Acquaintance
September 14, 2020
I served as Grady's Vice President when he was President of the Slippers-N-Sliders Ski Club. It was my pleasure serving with such an honorable man. Rest well, Grady.
Helen Rigmaiden
Friend
September 14, 2020
Thank you Grady for being a man of integrity! You were a role model for so many in our profession, always giving, always mentoring. I pray that God will have mercy on your Immortal Soul. Rest well my friend, you will be missed.
Dr. Benjamin N. Tuggle
Coworker
September 14, 2020
Group of 10 Memorial Trees
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Lynnette Nelson
September 14, 2020
I enjoyed and respected Grady when we worked together at the Fish and Wildlife Service in Denver. May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
Jim Lutey
Coworker
September 14, 2020
I respected and enjoyed working with Grady at Fish and Wildlife Service. May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
Jim
Coworker
September 14, 2020
Group of 10 Memorial Trees
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Olivia Smith
September 14, 2020
Grady was "good people".
George Bell
Friend
September 13, 2020
Grady Towns welcomed me with open arms from the very beginning of meeting his son Brandon. He was such a smart, caring, and loving, man. I loved listening to his stories, hearing his laughter, and most of all, seeing the pride he had in his family. His love for his children and grandchildren would always show through his joyous smile, and beaming eyes. He loved watching his grandsons grow, and learn new things, or to see them play sports, and when his granddaughter arrived, he loved watching her be a "princess" but also a tough girl around the boys... she'd smile with big brown eyes at him, and it just melted his heart...I will take away so many wonderful memories of you, and I thank you for being such an amazing father in law to me, and that I get to share in your great namesake. May you rest in peace and continue to look in on us from time to time. You will be greatly missed.
Yvette Towns
Family
September 13, 2020
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
Olivia L Bolden
Friend
September 13, 2020
Ellie and family:
I am sorry to hear of your loss, and pray for you and the family. Over the years you shared some of Grady's background, but I did not know it all.
Charles (Chuck) Hendricks
Friend
September 13, 2020
Rest my brother, your work is done here on earth. You will always be remembered by us
Rudy Chambers
September 13, 2020
We will miss you very much partner. Condolences and prayers to the family. RIH Grady.
Rosini Russell
Friend
September 13, 2020
Laura and I just saw the notice of Grady's passing in the Denver Post. We are so, so sorry. In all my years with the Fish & Wildlife Service, he was one of my favorite co-workers. We would also have discussions about the University of Utah since I also attended the U, graduating in 1964. This has been such a difficult year in so many ways and our hearts and thoughts are with you.
Wayne Wathen
Coworker
September 13, 2020
Dearest Ellie - We are all the better that this good man walked the earth with You as his dear wife Eleanor by his side. May peace, love, hope and joy find your way back into your heart as precious memories of Grady wipe away your tears. - Lynnette La Marca Nelson
Lynnette Nelson
Friend
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