George Elmer Zepp Jr., retired district operations manager for Good Humor Corp., died Sunday at Franklin Square Hospital from complications of a stroke. He was 72.
Mr. Zepp, who retired in 1982, was responsible for managing drivers and their routes. He began his career at the ice cream company, which has its headquarters on Greenspring Drive in Cockeysville, in 1946 as a route vendor.
As a Good Humorman, his route was the streets and alleys of Northeast and East Baltimore. Known to his young customers as "Mr. George," he would help them safely cross the street to buy ice cream from the truck.
"He loved children, and that's what it was all about," said a son, George Edwin Zepp Sr. of Columbia. "Not only did he get to know the children along the route, but he got to know their parents as well.
"He used to take pictures of the children, and then put them in a bag and once a week held a drawing . . . the lucky kid whose picture was drawn winning a week's worth of free ice cream that he paid for. The company didn't pay for it."
Mr. Zepp's work as an ice cream man was seasonal, beginning in spring and ended in the autumn. Until he became a manager, he drove a taxicab or fuel truck in the off-season.
"He never had any time off, and when driving the ice cream truck worked seven days a week," his son said.
"He ate, slept and drank Good Humor," said his companion of many years, Ida M. Trolan of Essex.
Mr. Zepp was born and raised in Waverly, next door to Zepp Photo Supply at Greenmount Avenue and 31st Street. The shop was established by his grandfather, Simon Zepp, in 1900.
In the 1920s, his father, George Elmer Zepp Sr., expanded the business, which was acquired in 1982 by Camera Shop Inc. of Philadelphia.
Mr. Zepp studied at McDonogh School and was a 1941 graduate of Massanutten Academy. During World War II, he enlisted in the Navy and served about the destroyer USS Trippe in the Pacific. He was discharged with the rank of seaman in 1946.
The former Pentwood Avenue resident retired to Naples, Fla., but returned to Essex each summer.
Services were private.
Other survivors include three other sons, Stephen R. Zepp of Orlando, Fla., Wayne M. Zepp of Alabama and George Elmer Zepp III of Charleston, S.C.; three sisters, Kathryn Z. Henschen of Towson, Vera Z. Prince of Hydes and Lois A. Reif of Cub Hill; a half-brother, Thomas H. Jessop of Salem, S.C.; a stepbrother, Stuart D. Jessop of Baltimore; seven grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.