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Monday, 22 December 2014

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Barrow family pays tribute to much loved ‘Gentleman Joe’, 89

TRIBUTES have been paid to a much-loved and well-known ice cream seller.

Martin Joseph Hogan – known as Ice Cream Joe and Gentleman Joe – of Roosebeck, Barrow, died on December 7.

The 89-year-old, who ran Hogie’s Ices on the Coast Road, passed away peacefully at Furness General Hospital. Mr Hogan was a grandfather-of-seven, and his children include former rugby league stars Phil and Stephen Hogan.

He started working on the ice cream van in the 1970s, alongside his late wife Margaret, after previously working on the docks. Mr Hogan worked selling the traditional ice creams up until around two years ago. The van is still run by the family.

He was a familiar smiling face, rain or shine. Mr Hogan would happily replace dropped ice creams, reunite visitors with lost items, and he would collect for the RNLI and other charities.

He had also been a doorman at the Rugby Club, at Craven Park, and his earlier jobs included working as a groom for the horses used to deliver milk for the Co-op, a butcher boy, farm hand and building aircraft hangars.

During the Barrow blitz he helped create a new air raid shelter which saved lives as the old shelter his family had used was hit by a bomb. Barrow-born Mr Hogan joined the Army and later the Royal Navy. His navy unit worked preparing the English Channel ahead of the D-Day landings. Mr Phil Hogan, an ex-Great Britain, Barrow, and Hull rugby player, said: “Everyone knew my dad as Ice Cream Joe or Gentleman Joe. You’ll never meet another like him, he was a one off. It was just his way, he had such a nice manner. Everyone has a little story about my dad. He would bend over backwards to help people.”

He said his dad was an avid home brew specialist and people have fond memories of parties at the Hogans’.

Mr Hogan had cancer and other illnesses. He had been a patient at St Mary’s Hospice and Furness General Hospital.

Mr Hogan said his dad retained his sense of humour and was popular with the nurses for his impeccable manners. The 58-year-old, of Barrow, said he cannot thank St Mary’s Hospice and Furness General Hospital enough.

Mr Hogan’s granddaughter, Lemara Hogan, 31, of Hull spent her holidays working on the ice cream van. Miss Hogan said: “He was a brilliant man. Everyone has a story about him. It was always about family for him.”

Friends are asked to meet at a Requiem Mass at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church on Tuesday at 12.30pm. Donations are for St Mary’s Hospice.

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