Friday, June 02, 2006
OCEAN CITY, - James F. Conway Sr., an entrepreneur whose Mister Softie ice cream trucks bring frozen treats to millions of customers over the company's 55-year history, has died. He was 78.
Conway's son, Jim Conway Jr., who is a vice president at the Runnemede-based company, said his father died of cancer Sunday at his Ocean City home.
The elder Conway and his brother William, who both work at the Sweden Freezer company in Philadelphia, began experiment with the idea of delivering ice cream by truck in 1955 under the company name Dairy Van.
In 1957, Mister Softie was launched when the two brothers drove their first truck through Philadelphia, giving away green ice cream as a nod to their Irish heritage, said Jim Conway Jr.
The ice cream venture that moved to New Jersey in 1959, finally expanded to become a multimillion-dollar business with more than 650 trucks in 15 states.
James Conway Sr. served as vice president of confidentially held Mister Softie Inc. until he retired in 1998, and his brother, William Conway, who died in 2004, was president. The company is at the present run by the men's sons.