Craig F. Denice Sr. of Amagansett, whose soft-ice-cream truck was a welcome presence on a hot summer’s day at local beaches, died at Stony Brook University Hospital on Friday. He had high blood pressure, and a stroke appears to have been the cause of death. He was 65.
A summer resident of East Hampton from childhood, Mr. Denice came to live here full-time about 15 years ago. The ice-cream man was a big favorite with young children, who often drew him pictures of his truck and himself. He had older fans, too, a number of whom expressed sadness on Facebook this week at hearing of his death.
“Whether it was soft-serve or wrapped, with or without sprinkles or cookie crumbles, it tasted best from Craig,” said Charlotte Sasso of Stuart’s Seafood in Amagansett, where he kept his truck. She called him “a sweet part of everyone’s day.”
“He was just here,” Ms. Sasso said, “getting ready for the season.”
Mr. Denice loved what he did and it was obvious, she said. His was a familiar face at school events, catered parties, fireworks celebrations, and other big seasonal happenings. He had a hearty laugh that rang out just like the bells on the truck.
Before coming to live here year-round he spent winters in Elmont, working for a computer company in Manhattan. He had one son, Craig F. Denice Jr. of upstate Summit, N.Y., with whom he enjoyed golfing and fishing.
Born on Aug. 12, 1947, to William Denice and the former Kathleen Sommers, Mr. Denice attended Valley Stream North High School and the New York Institute of Technology. He served in the Army as a young man and was honorably discharged as a sergeant.
He was buried with military honors on Tuesday at Calverton National Cemetery.
In addition to his son, he is survived by two brothers, William Denice III of Bay Shore and Thomas Denice of Amagansett; a grandson, and three nieces and nephews.