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Ice Cream Joes (and Janes) / Nick Ehrhardt

Ice Cream Joes (and Janes)

When I was a kid, we called every man – and they were always men back in those day – who drove an ice cream truck through our neighborhood “Ice Cream Joe.”

In recognition of July as National Ice Cream Month, here are some recently departed Ice Cream Joes and Janes, who at one time made their neighborhoods a little sweeter by selling ice cream from trucks or ice cream parlors.

Margie Noe (Journal Star)Margie A. Noe, 80, and her husband “owned and operated the Mr. Softee Ice Cream trucks in Galesburg (Illinois) from 1961 to 1970,” according to the obituary published in the Peoria (Illinois) Journal Star.

Her family wrote: “During that time, Margie’s business success with the company was nationally recognized.” I wish they had written more about how she was recognized.

Al Ward and his wife Dody opened Sips ’n’ Snacks Ice Cream Parlor in 1998 in northern California, according to the obit published in the Daily News of Red Bluff. But sadly their career as scoop meisters was brief.

The shop was decorated in a 1950’s theme but had to be closed in 2000 after Al suffered a stroke and Dody broke her shoulder.

Ronald Dean Barnes (Hamilton Journal-News)Ronald Dean Barnes, 69, a Vietnam War veteran and resident of Hamilton, Ohio, was known as “Papa Ron” during the 14 years he spent “driving an ice cream truck for Biker Dude Ice Cream Company,” according to his obit in the Hamilton Journal-News.

Myron “Mike” Beatty was an ice cream delivery boy – for about a week.

John Willard Borneman was a retired milkman who later worked at El Cajon Speedway selling race programs and ice cream bars.

Alfonso Diaz, born in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico in 1948, owned and operated B.B.’s Ice Cream Trucks.

After retiring from truck driving, Sergei Michael “Duke” Kitchuck “went into business for himself doing signs, license plate frame engraving and soft serve ice cream” on the fair circuit.

William La Grange worked in his dad’s ice cream parlor – as well as the family’s ice house, feed mill, saw mill and garage.

Mary Lee Szany managed her sister and brother-in-law’s ice cream shop (but she was known for her Christmas cookies).

Frank Triana wore many hats: ice cream parlor owner, restaurant owner, hotel owner, truck driver, gas station owner, and so on…


This post was contributed by Alana Baranick, a freelance obituary writer who lives in Northeast Ohio. She is director of the Society of Professional Obituary Writers and chief author of Life on the Death Beat: A Handbook for Obituary Writers.