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Ice cream pioneer dies at 104 in Southern California

by Alice

Ernesteen McConnell, the pioneering force behind McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams alongside her husband Gordon, has passed away at the remarkable age of 104, the company confirmed.

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Announcing her passing on Instagram, the iconic ice cream chain described Ernesteen affectionately as “a pistol,” highlighting her sharp wit, spirited demeanor, and boundless energy. Renowned for her positivity and generosity, Ernesteen, fondly known as “Ernie,” leaves behind a legacy marked by her unwavering spirit and zest for life.

A key figure in the establishment of McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams, Ernesteen and Gordon embarked on their journey in 1950 after relocating to Santa Barbara. Over the decades, McConnell’s ice creams, crafted meticulously “from scratch,” have garnered a devoted following, with eight scoop shops dotting Southern California and the Central Coast, alongside availability in grocery stores.

Pioneering the use of local ingredients long before it became a trend, McConnell’s distinguished itself by shunning fillers, stabilizers, and preservatives, crafting each product in-house. From ice cream to accompaniments like jams, caramels, and chocolate sauces, Ernesteen and Gordon, affectionately referred to as “Mac,” laid the foundation for what would become America’s original artisan ice cream brand.

As the company shared on Instagram, Ernesteen and Mac’s vision continues to shape McConnell’s ethos, with a steadfast commitment to crafting everything 100% from scratch, ensuring the preservation of their legacy for generations to come.

In honoring Ernesteen McConnell’s extraordinary life, McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams not only celebrates her contributions but also reaffirms its dedication to upholding the principles of quality, craftsmanship, and authenticity that she embodied.

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