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A Sweet Tradition Carries On

When people pull up at Willy’s ice cream on a hot summer day it is almost guaranteed they will see a familiar face and meet a friendly worker to get their ice cream.

William “Willy” McClung, the founder of Willy’s Ice Cream passed away on April 5, but his spirit lives on in the minds of Waynesboro students, especially his granddaughter, Madison Allen.

“I’ve never met a person who didn’t like him,” said Allen. “He would do anything for anybody. He was my best friend.”

McClung, who started the business in 1995, was active in the community. He hosted many fundraisers for WHS sports teams and was a big supporter of the Boys and Girls Club, and he is remembered as a very caring person.

Abbey Lee, who used to attend WHS and is currently a student at Longwood University, has worked at Willy’s for three years. She says she will always remember the day she was hired because McClung greeted her with a joyous “Welcome to the Willy’s family”

“Every evening we have to turn the lights on at Willy’s when it starts to get dark and Willy would call at about two in the afternoon with the sun shining to tell us to cut our lights on even though it wasn’t dark,” said fellow employee Taylor Lloyd, a WHS senior. “We’d do anything to hear that again.” Lloyd has worked at WIlly’s since she was a freshman.

McClung got his idea for Willy’s from Pack’s Frozen Custard, an ice cream stand in Winchester, Virginia. The original Willy’s was much smaller than the one we see today on West Main street; it was just a trailer.

“The business quickly grew so he had Willy’s built. It was brought in on a tractor trailer and lifted by a crane into place.” said McClung’s daughter Carrie McClung Allen, who took over the business four years ago.

“My dad would come into Willy’s, make himself a cup of ice cream, grab a stool, sit down, and we would just talk about life!” said Allen. “I just want to say it is an honor and a privilege to carry on the family business that my father started 20 years ago. I will strive to make the business grow and continue to make him proud.”

While William McClung has passed, it is clear that he lives on in the minds of employees. During his time in Waynesboro, he touched the lives of many people through both his business and his community work, and it is clear that his daughter and her employees will look to maintain the traditions Mr. McClung established in Waynesboro during his lifetime.


IMG_4366“Willy” getting his daily cup of ice cream. Picture by: Carrie McClung Allen

2 Responses to “A Sweet Tradition Carries On”

  1. Leslie Hellerman says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

  2. Yvette Michaud says:

    Willy was the best teacher of life for young girls who came to work for him. You were learning and working and having fun at the same time.


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