WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Jerome Reed and Chucky Williams got free ice cream Wednesday from a 1967 Good Humor truck parked outside Kittrell Park to honor the memory of the late Joe Villardi, who served White Plains residents ice cream for 59 years.
“There’s not a person in White Plains that doesn’t know Joe,” Reed said. “If you didn’t know Joe, you’re not from White Plains.”
When Reed, who grew up on Ferris Avenue, arrived at Kittrell Park on Wednesday and saw the old-style Good Humor truck, he said it felt as if he were a kid again going to get ice cream from Good Humor Joe. As a child, Reed said, his family had a tight budget, and Joe would allow them to buy ice cream with the promise that they would pay at the end of the week.
“He never changed,” Reed said. “He was always the same loving person.”
Like Williams, Common Council member Beth Smayda’s favorite ice cream treat is strawberry shortcake. The council president said she remembered Joe well, and that her daughters heard about the event Wednesday through the “We Love Joe The Good Humor Man” Facebook group, which has 2,255 members.
Born Jan. 21 1930, in the Bronx, Villardi began selling ice cream pops from a pushcart outside of Yankee Stadium. He bought a Good Humor truck in 1953 and began his service to the White Plains area. He was a veteran of the Korean War and was a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1666. He was featured in several national publications, including The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, and on the Food Network.
For his contributions to the city, the Common Council declared Aug. 6 “Good Humor Joe Day” in White Plains at its meeting Monday. Villardi's brother Anthony and other family members were present.
Good Humor joined the City of White Plains to celebrate the life and work of the community’s beloved ice cream man. A memory book was available for community members to sign and share their favorite memories. The book will be presented to Villardi’s family.