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 links to obits for some recently departed Ice Cream Joes and Janes, who at one time served ice cream from trucks and/or in parlors.
Margie A. Noe, 80, along with her husband, owned and operated the Mr. Softee Ice Cream trucks in Galesburg(Ill.) from 1961 to 1970, according to the obituary from the Peoria (Ill.) Journal Star.
Her family wrote: During that time, Margie's business success with the company was nationally recognize. 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, Calif. But 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, 69, a Vietnam War veteran and resident of Hamilton, Ohio, was known as “Papa Ron” during the past 14 years driving an ice cream truck for Biker Dude Ice Cream Company, according to his obit in the Hamilton Journal-News.***
A few more Ice Cream Joes and Janes:
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.
Sergei Michael “Duke” Kitchuck, after retiring from truck driving, “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: restaurant and ice cream parlor owner, hotel owner, truck driver, gas station owner…
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.