29 January 2009
Associated Press Newswires
LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) - Elinor May Everett Stingley, who served up ice cream and admonishments to locals and celebrities alike during her half-century as the strict "Cone Lady" at a park-side ice cream shop, has died at age 101.
Stingley, who died Tuesday, became a local legend known as the "Cone Lady" for her 51 years of serving up ice cream cones at Original Frozen Custard, a Lafayette landmark that opened in 1932 next to the city's Columbian Park.
She oversaw the store's cone window well into her 90s and was known for telling customers, "We do not mix flavors" and for refusing to serve anything but cones if a customer seeking some other treat appeared before her.
To those customers she would simple declare they were in "a cone line only" -- and she made no exceptions, her granddaughter, Aleeah Livengood of Mulberry, told the Journal & Courier.
Livengood recalled that Guns N' Roses frontman Axl Rose, who grew up in Lafayette as William Bailey and lived with his grandmother near the ice cream shop, returned to the city in the early 1990s at the height of his band's fame.
When Rose paid a visit to Original Frozen Custard, he went to the cone line because the other line was long, Livengood said.
"Finally, it was his turn, and he asked granny for a strawberry sundae. She told him to go to the other line. He said, 'Do you know who I am?' Granny said, 'Yes, William. I know who you are. Now get to the other line.'"
Livengood said Rose laughed after getting a rise out of Stingley, who used to yell at Rose when as a youngster he would skateboard through the shop's parking lot, menacing customers.
Stingley died at the Lafayette home of her great-granddaughter, Lisa Yates, according to Fisher-Loy Funeral Chapel, where Stingley's memorial service will be held Monday.
"Elinor was one tough cookie, but she had a soft side as well," said Brice Barrett, who worked at the custard shop as a teenager. "Elinor had an honest interest in seeing that we all made something of ourselves, and was quick to voice her disapproval if one of us stepped out of line."