Owner of Black Bear Cafe dies suddenly after suspected heart attack

TOWNSEND, Tenn. (WVLT) — The co-owner of a popular Townsend restaurant has died.

Randy Shuler with his wife, Tammy. / Source: (Tammy Shuler)

Randy Shuler, 51, owner of Black Bear Cafe, died suddenly on Oct. 6. He owned the cafe with his mother, Gail Shuler.

According to his wife, Tammy Shuler, emergency first responders suspect a massive heart attack is to blame, but an official cause of death is still pending.

The Black Bear Cafe will close for the rest of the season. As far as next year, Tammy said the plan is still up in the air.

"Everybody has been wonderful," said Tammy. "We've just been overwhelmed with calls, and text messages and Facebook notifications of people sending their thoughts and prayers."

The Black Bear Cafe is known as a gathering place for East Tennessee locals.

"They care about their customers," said Martha Walker, a frequent customer at Black Bear Cafe and a Townsend local. "The first thing they did was ask about a vacation I recently went on."

Walker said their food is wonderful and called the pecan pie one of her favorites, a menu item handmade by Randy Shuler.

Just a few months ago, Shuler told WVLT News that his customers were more like family.

Previous Story: Black Bear Cafe reopens in Townsend

A receiving of friends will be held Friday, Oct. 11 from 5 - 7 p.m. at Smith Trinity Chapel located at 1402 Tuckaleechee Pike.

A graveside service is set for 1 p.m. on Oct. 12 at Cades Cove Methodist Church located inside the National Park.

Everyone is welcome to attend the services. Anyone who would like to send flowers should send them to Smith Trinity Chapel.

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