Nobody didn't love Don Heid — for more than 50 years, the amiable World War II combat veteran orchestrated the scooping of free Clover Stornetta Farms ice cream at the Sonoma County Fair.
"Come back as often as you like," he'd tell the kids of all ages who queued at Clover's three-window booth for a complimentary dollop of vanilla on a cone.
Heid, a career milkman who first went to work for the predecessor of Clover Stornetta in the mid-1950s, died May 27 in Santa Rosa. He was 91.
"He really enjoyed going to work every day," said his wife, Gloria, who often joined him as he served samples of the Petaluma creamery's products at trade shows, wine tastings and benefit events.
"He just loved seeing all the people. And people liked to talk to him."
Donald Eugene Heid was born in Portsmouth, Ohio, in 1922. As a young man he was drafted into World War II and assigned to the 255th Field Artillery Battalion of Gen. George Patton's Third Army.
Heid fought in the historic invasion of Normandy that took place almost exactly 70 years ago, and the Battle of the Bulge. At the end of the war in Europe, he helped to liberate a German concentration camp.
"I think it was very painful for him," his wife said. Her husband, a born storyteller, avoided tales of war.
The Heids met well after the war, in 1953, in Washington, D.C. They lived in the same apartment building and he worked as a milk-van driver, she as a nurse.
They married in 1954 and promptly quit D.C. for Sebastopol so that Gloria Heid, a Sonoma County native, could be of greater assistance to her aging parents.