Obituary of Vincent Edward Townsen
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So many people in this world and very few are exceptional... rare; completely authentic and original. We catch a glimpse of them sometimes, maybe someone who is famous but most lead quiet, unassuming lives and their special presence is felt by only a few... the lucky. I was one of the lucky ones to have known Vince Townsend. Vincent Edward Townsend was born October 31, 1965 in Oakland, CA and grew up in the San Francisco bay area. He graduated from Acalanes High School in 1983 and became a member of the Motion Picture Machine Operators Union shortly after. In 1987 he became the manager of the Park Theatre in Lafayette, CA until the theatre closed in 2005. He went on to also manage the Orinda Theatre and the Rheem Theatre in Moraga. He remained a member of the projectionists' union for over 35 years and was considered one of the very best in his field for his love of classic movie theatres and the care he took so that patrons had the very best experience possible. But Vince's true gift was not his work, it was his interactions with people. I met Vince when I was only 16 and we remained friends for 38 years but my story is just one of many. He connected with people, cared about people. Sometimes it was driving a friend to a doctor's appointment or just a long phone call to check in with how you are doing. Sometimes it was offering money or to buy a meal to a homeless person he passed on the street. And even when Vince personally was struggling, he would always say, "it could be worse, so many people are worse off than I am".
Vince is survived by his mother and stepfather, Cassandra and David Antkowiak, his brother Steven Townsend, his nephews Nicolas Townsend and Vincent Townsend and his many, many friends, who were his family, loved him dearly and will forever be changed by his absence.
There will be a celebration of Vince's life on Saturday, April 22, 2023 at 2pm at the Orinda Theatre. Vince had a love of animals and was an active supporter of the LGBTQ community. If you would like to make a donation in his name, we suggest either SF LGBT Center or SF SPCA.
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