Carl D. Anderson had a sophisticated sense of taste.
And what a delicious thing that turned out to be over the last half-century for untold thousands of area residents who flocked to Anderson's Frozen Custard, where they have licked up about 1.5 million gallons of the frozen dessert -- the equivalent of 70 million cones.
The founder of one of the area's best-known and most-appetizing businesses died at age 79 Saturday (Dec. 27, 1997) in Jupiter, Fla., of complications from non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
Born in Buffalo to Swedish immigrant parents, Anderson grew up watching his father, Oscar, develop a trucking business that hauled earth for the construction of the Peace Bridge. When Anderson's Trucking was lost during the Great Depression, the son helped rebuild it.
Although humble and self-effacing, Anderson showed leadership qualities at Amherst High School, where he was Student Council president, lettered in several sports and graduated with honors. He earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Buffalo in three years and finished UB Law School in 1943.
He married his childhood sweetheart, Greta Nelson, in 1941. They started Anderson's Frozen Custard in New York City five years later, but returned to their hometown in 1947 to be closer to their families.
They re-established the custard shop on Kenmore Avenue, where Anderson put his well-developed palate to use, monitoring the production and test-marketing of the soft ice cream.
"He could distinguish batches of custard by taste," said his daughter, Holly Wildermuth.
Anderson held his employees to a high standard, but he also was generous with them. One wrote that he "learned the business lessons of high quality, trust, consistency and integrity" from his boss at the custard stand.
In 1953, Anderson's opened at 2235 Sheridan Drive in the Town of Tonawanda, where it remains in business today.
Anderson, who had homes on Grand Island and in Jupiter, Fla., retired in 1983, six years before the business -- also known for its roast beef sandwiches -- opened a second location at 6075 Main St. in Williamsville. It has since opened several other restaurants as well.
A religious man, Anderson used the Bible to guide his life, and was fond of quoting from the Book of Mark: "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this, you shall love your neighbor as yourself."
Survivors besides his wife include three sons, Jack of Charlotte, N.C., Nels of Dallas and Keith of Clarence; two daughters, Ann Berley of Hingham, Mass., and Holly Wildermuth of Amherst; a sister, Mildred Johnson of Chicago; and 14 grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday in Whitehaven Road Baptist Church, 1290 Whitehaven Road, Grand Island. The burial service will be private.