The ‘Ice Man’ who cooled many generations has died. Tri-Citians gave him a parade

Roger Pearson, a long-time Tri-City businessman whose ice company kept generations of residents cool during Water Follies, the Benton-Franklin Fair & Rodeo and other summer events has died. He was 78.

Friends and family honored Pearson with a funeral parade through much of east Kennewick on Thursday before stopping at Clover Island for a celebration of his life.

Friends and family honored Kennewick business owner Roger Pearson with a procession past his business, Inland Ice and Fuel, on March 28, Pearson, 78, died March 24. Tri-City Herald staff
Friends and family honored Kennewick business owner Roger Pearson with a procession past his business, Inland Ice and Fuel, on March 28, Pearson, 78, died March 24. Tri-City Herald staff

The parade route took the long line of cars past his beloved haunts: Hill’s Restaurant, owned by his wife, Nancy Galstad, and his Washington Street ice business, known for its mural of an old fashioned buggy delivering ice.

Friends honked as they drove past the business Pearson called the “ice house”

Pearson was born in Torrington, Wyo., and spent much of his life in Eastern Washington, where he graduated from Quincy High School and attended and wrestled at Columbia Basin College. He served in the Army and worked for the Department of Transportation before becoming a business owner.

Pearson and his first wife, Susan Fox, bought Inland Ice and Fuel in Kennewick in 1974. They expanded it to to include a plant in Yakima and distribution facilities throughout the region. The International Packaged Ice Association inducted him into its Hall of Fame in 2012.

He retired in 2014 but retained the properties for his children.

Pearson spent much of his time in retirement at Hill’s, where making the breakfast gravy was his specialty.

In 2020 Roger Pearson measures inside Hill’s Restaurant & Lounge in Kennewick while trying different table layouts to meet the state’s expected reopening requirements for dining rooms during the coronavirus pandemic. His wife, Nancy Galstad, owns the popular restaurant. Bob Brawdy/Tri-City Herald
In 2020 Roger Pearson measures inside Hill’s Restaurant & Lounge in Kennewick while trying different table layouts to meet the state’s expected reopening requirements for dining rooms during the coronavirus pandemic. His wife, Nancy Galstad, owns the popular restaurant. Bob Brawdy/Tri-City Herald

In addition to his wife, Pearson is survived by several children, grandchildren and great grandchildren as well as extended family and friends.

Mueller’s Tri-Cities Funeral Nome handled the arrangements.