Albert 'Bud' Hendler, 86, president of Baltimore ice cream company

March 12, 1997|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Albert "Bud" Hendler, retired president of Hendler Creamery Co., which produced ice cream in the Baltimore area for 60 years, died of heart failure Sunday at Brightwood Center, a retirement community in Brooklandville. He was 86.

In 1955, Mr. Hendler took over operation of the company that was founded by his father, L. Manuel Hendler, in 1905. The company was in the former Baltimore City Passenger Railway Co. powerhouse in the 1100 block of E. Baltimore St. and was bought by Borden Co. in 1929.

He retired in 1965 as chairman of Borden's Southeast division and a member of the company's board of directors. About the time he retired, the Hendler product line was discontinued.

But before Hendler's was no longer available, it had become one of the Baltimore area's most popular ice creams. It was promoted as "The Velvet Kind" on billboards and in other advertisements that featured the famous Hendler Kewpies, happy, chubby babies.

Besides the commonplace vanilla and chocolate, Hendler's also made such specialties as dated coffee ice cream, which contained chopped dates, spice-apple flavor and Cherigold, vanilla ice cream with maraschino cherries.

Perhaps the Hendler product whose loss is most lamented is the egg-nog ice cream flavored with rum.

"Hendler's was the only ice cream company in America to have a liquor license in order to blend liquor into ice cream," said a son, Dr. Nelson Hendler of Owings Mills.

At one time, the company had 400 stores that were served by the company's fleet of 120 delivery trucks. Hendler's also was sold in drugstores, supermarkets and neighborhood groceries.

According to Dr. Hendler, his father learned the business "from the chains up."

"His first job was scrapping the rust off of the tire chains," the son said. "He chipped ice from the freezers and was a stationary engineer. He mixed ice cream and ran the freezers. Grandpa was a firm believer in having him learn the business from the bottom to the top."

Albert Hendler and his father held 32 patents relating to ice cream making, Dr. Hendler said.

Albert Hendler was born in East Baltimore and was raised on Lake Drive near Druid Hill Park. He graduated from Polytechnic Institute in 1928, earned a bachelor's degree in engineering from the Johns Hopkins University in 1934 and joined the family business.

During World War II, he enlisted in the Army. Because of his experience working with trucks, he helped plan the trucking routes for the invasion of Normandy in 1944. He later worked on the design and construction of the Alcan Highway and was discharged in 1945 with the rank of captain.

The longtime Pikesville resident collected Hendler's memorabilia; cast-iron horse-drawn fire wagons, coaches, carriages and circus wagons; and penny banks.

He also collected signed first editions, elaborate tobacco pipes, stamps, guns, model trains and coins.

He believed that his collections should be displayed and not locked away. By the end of his life, he had disposed of most of them.

"He was a quiet, informal and unflappable man who despised ties," Dr. Hendler said of his father. "He was not a joiner and really preferred the solitude of his elaborately equipped basement workshop, where he made dioramas, dollhouses and dollhouse furniture for his granddaughters."

Services for Mr. Hendler were held yesterday.

His wife, the former Winifred Siff, whom he married in 1943, died in 1992.

In addition to his son, survivors include another son, Bruce Hendler of New York City; a daughter, Rosalind Sexton of Joplin, Mo.; and eight grandchildren.

Memorial donations may be made to the Chizuk Amuno Congregation, the Hendler Art Gallery, 8100 Stevenson Road, Baltimore 21208.

Pub Date: 3/12/97

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