People in the Quad-Cities and beyond remembered and mourned "Happy Joe" Whitty on Tuesday.
Sharon Krebs, of Blue Grass, and her family enjoyed taco pizza, sausage and Canadian Bacon pizza and beer Tuesday evening at the Happy Joe's Pizza & Jungle Bungle, Davenport.
"We came to Happy Joe's when the kids were small for birthday parties," Krebs said. Usually, they went to the location that was in the Village of East Davenport.
"When my husband took night classes, the kids and I would have pizza at Happy Joe's," she said.
Her husband, Mike, worked for Joe Whitty at Shakey's Pizza many years ago, she said.
Her father, Tom Fischlein, of Parkview, was impressed Whitty came up with so many different kinds of pizza, including sauerkraut.
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Other people shared their memories, too:
Zack Covemaker, Moline: "He always seemed to work at the Happy Joe’s out in Coal Valley, where I grew up, and he was always the nicest man. We’d make weekly trips out there just to have our ice cream scooped out by the legend himself!"
Betty Dresselhaus, Davenport: "He came to our Sons of Norway meetings. He was from North Dakota. He told Ole and Lena jokes.
"It came up at a meeting that we needed a place for a picnic. He said, 'Come to my house!'" and invited the entire lodge He furnished the meat and the pop, and his grandkids parked our cars. It was so special."
The Rev. Travis Fisher-King of Davenport: "I remember watching the pizzas being made at the NorthPark location (now a steak house), and birthday parties with the horn! I remember watching Joe in various parades when I was growing up, in the fire truck with the Dalmatian — sometimes a real dog or other times a person in a fur suit."
Greg Leedle, of Bettendorf: "What a wonderful man. Approximately 20 years ago, when my cousin, who has cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair, turned 16 years old, my mother arranged to have the Happy Joe's firetruck give her a ride. Mr. Whitty personally drove that truck. He treated her like a princess. He was amazing."