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Is the family who owned Shields Ice Cream Shoppes still in the area?

Ken Little

Q. I am trying to find out if the family who owned Shields Ice Cream parlor in Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach is still located in the area. The reason is, I am looking for a Shields Ice Cream sign to put in the house I am moving into in the summer. My husband had saved a small table and two booth-type chairs from the original Shields Ice Cream parlor and we have fixed a small area in the house and are decorating like the parlor was back when it was open.

A. Hal and Opal Ruth Shields and their three children moved to Wilmington in 1966 and opened Shields Ice Cream Shoppes.

The successful flagship parlor was in the North 17 Shopping Center at 4306 Market St., Wilmington [Map this], and the family operated other Shields Ice Cream parlors in town in the 1970s, including one at 44 Causeway Drive in Wrightsville Beach, one at 1401 Floral Parkway, near Hanover Center; and one at 4404 Shipyard Blvd., Wilmington [Map this], at Long leaf Mall.

Hal J. Shields died on Aug. 21, 2010, at age 85. Opal Ruth Shields survived her husband. The couple also had ties to Winston Salem.

“Many in Wilmington will remember their favorite visits to ‘Shields’ with friends and family. Hal and Opal and their children all served customers at the ice cream shoppes and built strong friendships and connections to Wilmington,” according to an obituary published in the StarNews.

In 1979, the old Shields locations at North 17 and at Long Leaf Mall became Mayberry’s Ice Cream outlets. The Shields on Floral Parkway continued under the family name for another year or so.

“Hal and Opal Ruth’s children, Brenda Shields Parker, Rebecca Shields Sawyer, and Daniel Clay Shields, are all active in the Wilmington community and have extended Hal and Opal’s legacy with five children and two grandchildren,” the 2010 obituary said.

Perhaps some readers or family members own Shields Ice Cream memorabilia and are willing to part with it. If so, contact Si Cantwell at si.cantwell@starnewsonline.com.


Does anybody remember Shields’ ice cream parlor?

When did the old Biltmore Dairy Bar close?

What happened to the old Dairy Queen sign at 17th and Dawson streets?










User-contributed question by:
Tina Mintz

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One Response to “ Is the family who owned Shields Ice Cream Shoppes still in the area?”

  1. On May 9, 2013 at 3:25 pm Tina Mintz wrote:

    Hey still in search of shield’s ice cream sign to put in our house (the pink house where the movie secret life of bees was made) talked to ms opalruth shields who said she no longer had any items from the parlors…..may have to get a sign made but i still need a picture of shields ice cream parlor in order to get the sign made….please help if you can thanks alot tina mintz

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