Marinos Vourderis, a Greek immigrant who became “the millionaire king of Italian ices,” passed away July 2 in his home at Jamaica Estates, Queens, New York City. He was 97.
His daughter Maggie Hackford’s words to the New York Daily News were full of admiration: “He was amazing. He had the Midas touch; everything he touched turned to gold.”
Born near Athens, Vourderis emigrated to the U.S. in the 1930s. He arrived in New York City with just 50 cents to his name.
Initially working in the construction business, his entrance into the ice cream enterprise came after a client could not pay him for the ice cream shop he had been hired to build. Vourderis gained ownership of the ice cream machinery he had just installed and began on his journey toward success.
He changed the company name from Olympic Ice Cream Company to Marinos Italian Ices. In 1964, he entered his ice creams into the New York World’s Fair, the international commercial exhibition in Flushing Meadows.
At his retirement in 2002, Marinos Italian Ices had annual revenues of $6 million. The company enjoys a widespread distribution of its ice creams among the stores and supermarkets in New York City as well as surrounding areas and states.
Vourderis is survived by his wife Mary; his daughter, Margie; his son, Dennis; seven grandchildren and three great grandchildren. His funeral was held Saturday July 6 at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Jamaica, NY.