August Ernest 'Bud' Eckels Jr., president of ice cream manufacturer, dies

World War II veteran managed Eckels Ice Cream & Dairy Co.

March 08, 2011|By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun

August Ernest "Bud" Eckels Jr., former president and general manager of a family-owned Baltimore ice cream manufacturing plant, died Thursday of a hemorrhage at a Leesburg, Fla., hospital. He was 88.

Mr. Eckels, whose father established Eckels Ice Cream & Dairy Co. in 1918 and whose mother was a homemaker, was born in Baltimore and raised on Mayfield Avenue in the city's Arcadia neighborhood.

He was a 1940 graduate of Polytechnic Institute. His college studies at the University of Maryland were interrupted when he enlisted in the Army Air Corps during World War II.

Mr. Eckels, who was trained as a bombardier, flew 50 missions while based in Italy with the 15th Air Force's 464th Bomb Group.

Mr. Eckels, who attained the rank of lieutenant, earned the Air Medal with several Oak Leaf Clusters. After the war, he returned to College Park, where he earned a degree in 1948 in dairy engineering.

That year, he joined the family business, which manufactured and sold Sunny Brook Ice Cream. He served as president and general manager of the plant, which had been in the 2300 block of E. North Ave., from 1948 until 1973, when he sold the business to Southland Corp.

Mr. Eckels, who held several patents for ice cream-making equipment, had been a director of the Southern Association of Ice Cream Manufacturers.

The Arcadia resident, who moved to Sunrise, Fla., in 1988, had been living in Leesburg in recent years.

He was a former member and head usher at Third English Lutheran Church on Hillen Road and had been a leader of the Men's Brotherhood group. He was a Mason and a member of the Baltimore-Liberty Lodge.

His wife of 64 years, the former Dorothy Siegmund, died in 2007.

A memorial service was held Tuesday in Tavares, Fla.

Surviving are a son, E. Ronald Eckels of Arcadia; a daughter, Sharon S. Harris of Tamarac, Fla.; and a granddaughter.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

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