Fort Worth residents are mourning the death of a beloved restaurant owner who recently lost her battle with COVID-19.
Sunny Parton, 78, was a friend and family member to so many neighbors on Fort Worth’s West Side.
On Sunday friends celebrated her life at the restaurant she built over 50 years ago.
“On any given day you’d find Western Hills Cougars, Brewer Bears, General Dynamics employees, TxDOT employees, councilmen, mayors sitting here elbow-to-elbow eating pizza,” said friend, Kate Branson.
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Parton was an iconic restaurant owner, best known for her big smile, eclectic style and beaming personality.
“Whoever named her Sunny, named her right,” said customer Johnny McKinney. “She has a sunny personality.”
Customers said what stood out the most was how much attention Sunny paid to each person that walked through the door.
"She was mom to everybody who walked in this restaurant,” said Branson. “She knew your name, she watched your kids grow up, she watched your grandkids be born. She knew them all," McKinney added.
On March 11, Parton lost her battle with COVID-19 after she faced complications from the virus. Her son, Jody, said he is still in shock.
“We both got sick and she went into the hospital but never came back out,” said Jody Parton.
News of her passing hit close to home for employees like Andrea Perez, who has worked for Sunny for more than three decades.
“I’ve worked for her since 1987 off and on,” said Perez. “We became friends, and she took in our family and she just loved us all so much. I used to call her my sunshine, she was a beautiful person, I just miss her.”
Generations of family members, customers, and friends gathered to honor Sunny’s memory and to pay tribute to the impact she made on their lives over the past 50 years.
“If you walked through these doors, Sunny touched your life,” said Branson.
“Whether you came once or every day, she touched your life and she’ll be missed, and she’ll never be forgotten.”