South Shields bids final farewell to ice cream legend Michael Minchella
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Michael, the co-owner of renowned South Shields business Minchella & Co, died on Wednesday, May 4, aged 73, after undergoing treatment for chronic kidney disease.
He died peacefully at his home with his loving wife Anne by his side.Mourners turned out in numbers this morning (Monday, May 30) at St Bede’s R C Church in Westoe Road to pay tribute to the business legend.
The service was led by Father Michael Weymes, with a touching eulogy delivered by Michael’s son Joe Minchella.
His son Joe spoke about the life of a ‘truly great man’ who was a ‘great listener’ and loved his music and his family.
He said: “My dad was such a generous man, but never wanted anything in return. He was a great listener, who took as long as needed to listen and resolve any issues.
"He was always there for guidance, for anyone who needed it. He was a fantastic speaker, always speaking from the heart.
“He was always there with humour, wisdom and a quote. The man of my life, an absolute hero.”
As a man with a great love of music, Michael’s service included songs by Bob Dylan, George Harrison and Italian singer Zucchero Fornaciari.
Joe said: “Michael had a passion for music. His first band had the opportunity to perform at the Royal Albert Hall followed by the chance to tour Germany. Unfortunately Freddie [his father] wouldn’t give them the time off work, as it was on a bank holiday weekend.”
The Minchella family have been serving ice cream to the people of South Tyneside for many decades.
Michael joined the family business aged 15, and celebrated many accolades.
His family said that out of the hundreds of ice cream flavours Michael produced, his favourite was “freshly made vanilla, eaten straight from a litre tub, with a large spatula.”
Joe said: "Michael had a successful career in becoming president of the National ice cream alliance in 1990, achieving many awards in competitions and ultimately becoming the National Ice Cream Champion in 2018.”
After today’s funeral service, Michael’s cortege passed by the Minchella & Co seafront parlour on his final journey.