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Remembering Happy Joe

from the Happy Joe's Facebook page

The founder of a chain of restaurants, and generous community supporter, has died. "Happy Joe" Whitty died Tuesday at the age of 82, at the Clarissa Cook Hospice, in  Bettendorf.

He opened the first Happy Joe's pizza and ice cream restaurant in the Village of East Davenport in 1972. There are now 45 locations in six states - Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. 

Soon after opening, Whitty began a tradition that continues to this day, holding a Christmas party for special needs children. It started in his first restaurant but since has grown to two days for more than 1,000 kids, and is held at the TaxSlayer Center in Moline. 

Funeral arrangements are pending.

A native of Detroit, Herb Trix began his radio career as a country-western disc jockey in Roswell, New Mexico (“KRSY, your superkicker in the Pecos Valley”), in 1978. After a stint at an oldies station in Topeka, Kansas (imagine getting paid to play “Louie Louie” and “Great Balls of Fire”), he wormed his way into news, first in Topeka, and then in Freeport Illinois.