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Remembering Bill Fosselman And His South Pas Shop

Co-founder of Fosselman's Ice Cream has died at age 92. Services will be held at Holy Family Church 10 a.m. Friday.

Bill Fosselman—co-founder of Fosselman's Ice Cream and —died April 18. He was 92.

"He was a very sweet man. A wonderful father. A wonderful grandfather, and a wonderful great grandfather," his wife Mary told Patch. "None of us could have asked for anything more."

If you've lived in town for a while, chances are you knew Bill.

He and his dad, Christian, opened Fosselman's Ice Cream in 1937 at 1515 Mission in South Pas. The store quickly became a neighborhood hangout "where the whole town met," said his wife. And it stayed that way for more than 30 years.

"City Hall always had the back booth reserved from 9 to 10 in morning to settle city business," she said, adding that kids would also gather there after school events. 

Fosselman's youngest child, Mary Jo King, says she and all her siblings each worked at the shop at one point or another. They'd oftentimes hang out there, too.

"[On my way home from school] I would pop in to see my dad, and obviously get a treat," remembers King. "And my brothers and sisters would often do the same."

"My go-to treat was chocolate milk with a scoop of vanilla ice cream."

But when her father nodded, King says she knew it was time to go.

"If we were goofing around, he would nod. He wouldn't have to say anything. We knew get out of there," she recalls.

The South Pas shop eventually closed in 1974; a bronze plaque now sits in the sidewalk as a remembrance.

"It was a great place to grow up," said King of South Pas. "The shop closed my senior year of high school. It was sad day for all of us—a lot of good memories."

The manufacturing portion of Fosselman's was moved to Alhambra in 1939 where a retail store was created—and still remains today.

More Than Just A Volunteer

While Fosselman was known around town for his beloved ice cream parlor, he also made a huge impact through Holy Family Giving Bank—which he founded with two others more than 40 years ago.

The original giving bank was located in a Victorian home where the Holy Family Pastoral Center is now located. It was a very small unit with two or three flights of stairs, says Holy Family's director of community services, Carrie-Ann Lue Sue.

And although Fosselman stopped physically volunteering about four years ago, he never really quit working.

"He would call every two days to check in on us—asking how many people we served, and if we needed anything," said Lue Sue, adding that he was a great mentor and dear friend. 

"The only thing shutting down was his body," continued Lue Sue. "He was there in heart and spirit, and he was well loved by the volunteers and clients he served over the years, as well as the Holy Family communty."

Bill is survived by his wife, Mary; his brother Monsignor John Fosselman; his sister Carol Gaglio; his four children, Tina Shaw, Peter Fosselman, Roberta Wienke and Mary Jo King; six grandchildren; and six great grandchildren.

A rosary vigil will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 26 at ; And a funeral mass will be held on Friday, April 27 at 10 a.m. at Holy Family Church.

Internment will be private at Riverside National Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that a donation be made to the Sisters of Social Service, 4316 Lanai Rd., Encino, CA 91436 or the St. Vincent de Paul Society, 1527 Fremont Ave., South Pasadena, CA 91030.

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Wally Colburn April 26, 2012 at 10:42 PM
I grew up in South Pasadena, going to Fosselman's on Mission Street was always a special treat to have an ice cream cone or sundae, or on rare occasions to have lunch as a special treat. As a teenager I worked across the street in the old Lee's ToyTown and Hiltons Hobby Shop and on Saturdays Lee would treat all of the employee's in the store with lunch from Fosselman's. I remember the sodas and juke box when sharing with someone special. Bill was one of the special people in South Pasadena in an era long past. Wish the shop was still there but unfortunately it was torn down and it's locaton and is now the parking lot for the bank at Fair Oaks and mission. I would like to extend my sincere condolences to the Fosselman family on the loss of a great human being Bill Fosselman.
Candy B Solomon April 27, 2012 at 04:09 PM
Oh, what happy memories I have of Bill Fosselman and his ice cream shop on Mission Street in South Pasadena. Remember the juke box "selectors" on the tables and counters? Fosselman's was the go to place after a football game, dance, movie and even after "Open House" at school. It always amazed me when he would greet us by name as we entered his ice cream shop. I will never forget watching him make milkshakes in the silver containers behind the counter as he chatted with the customers. My deepest condolences to the entire Fosselman Family on Bill's passing. He will forever remain in our hearts and memories of a much simpler time...way back when. He was a South Pasadena icon that will live on in all of us whose lives he touched, not just as a beloved friend, but as a part of our extended family.
Candy B Solomon April 27, 2012 at 04:12 PM
...FYI... The above comment was made by Candy "Bond" Solomon, daughter of Allan D. Bond.
Just My Opinion May 02, 2012 at 05:49 PM
A South Pasadena Icon gone but never forgotten. Bill Fosselman will continue to live on in our hearts and memories forever. Everyone from Twohey's Restaurant in Alhambra sends their sincere condolences to The Fosselman family

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