Bill Fosselman: A Loving Father, Dedicated Volunteer and Ice Cream Shop Owner

Services will be held at Holy Family Church 7:30 p.m. Thursday and 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."

Bill and his dad, Christian, opened Fosselman's Ice Cream in 1937 in South Pasadena. The store quickly became a neighborhood hangout where "the whole town met," explained his wife, of the former storefront at 1515 Mission.

"City Hall always had the back booth reserved from 9 to 10 in morning to settle city business," she said. 

Fosselman's youngest child, Mary Jo King, says she and all of her siblings each worked there at some point or another. It was the halfway point on the walk between school and home.

"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."

But King says when her father nodded, 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 manufacturing portion of Fosselman's was moved to Alhambra in 1939 where a retail store was created and remains today. The South Pas shop 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."

Fosselman remained in his South Pas home on Milan Avenue until he died.

Fosselman's also ran an ice cream shop at the corner of Avenue 56 and North Figueroa Street in Highland Parkuntil the late 1970s, according to local historian Charles Fisher.

While Fosselman was beloved for his ice cream parlors, 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 quit working towards his mission.

"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.


AliJill April 27, 2012 at 02:23 PM
The best ice cream!!
Andrea Moran April 27, 2012 at 10:58 PM
Bill was a loving, kind and generous man. It was a privilege to know him. We had our very first banana splits at the Highland Park ice cream parlor when we were in high school. They were delicious then and are still delicious today. Pat and Andrea Moran


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