Ice Cream Innovator Albert Yarnell Dies At 94

ARKANSAS (KFSM) — A man who delivered ice cream on a bicycle in his youth to help his family business thrive died Sunday. He was 94.

Albert Yarnell, the son of Ray Yarnell, the founder of Searcy-based Yarnell Ice Cream Company, spent almost 75 years of his life working and running the company. After the Searcy plant closed in 2011, he served as a consultant during the brand’s rebirth the following year.

Yarnell was known as a strong civic leader in his community and the state, and for his willingness to quietly help anyone in need, according to his son, Rogers Yarnell said. He was an active member of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce since 1970.

Ray Yarnell bought the defunct Southwest Dairy Products building in 1932 and established the family brand. Albert started work as a “wood banger” for his father when he was 12. During the 1930s Albert Yarnell augmented the company’s truck routes by delivering ice cream with his bike, according to the encyclopedia of Arkansas.

After serving in the signal corps during World War II, Albert Yarnell returned to Searcy and was named the company’s vice president and sales manager. He oversaw the company’s expansion in the 1950s. The expansion allowed the company to distribute its products through central and south Arkansas. Albert Yarnell became the company’s president after his father died in 1974.

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