Ever hear someone say, “Now that’s just plain fudge?” That usually means someone is telling something inaccurate or exaggerated, but that is not the case in this story of fudge maker and Hayward resident Dave Seymour.
At 92, Seymour has been making fudge for over 70 years and he has no plans to stop. In fact, business is booming, and why not, since Seymour gives it away.
Born in Davenport, Iowa, to Frank and Rose Seymour, Dave moved with family to Chicago when he was just a toddler.
“I hated it,” Seymour said, referring to Chicago, as he sat down at the Record office to discuss his lifelong relationship with fudge.
He wanted to go into the service and get away from the city, so his father signed the paperwork necessary for a 17-year-old to enter the Marine Corps and get shipped off to Parris Island, South Carolina, for training.
At 18, he came home and got married to Nancy, whom he met while they were both working at Wieboldt’s Department Store in Chicago. They settled in Evergreen Park, Illinois, and Dave worked as a welder and then as a supervisor for 21 years at Rheem Manufacturing Company.
Nancy and Dave have two children: Dave Jr. and Linda.
“You can’t find two nicer people than these two. I’d have had 50 kids if I’d known they were gonna turn out so well,” he said.
Dave said he first visited Hayward in 1948 with his brother-in-law. “I said then that I was going to live there someday. I came to Hayward every chance I could,” he said.
And they did. Then he and Nancy did move to Hayward in 1969 and immediately bought an outboard motor business from Ray Halvie. They renamed it “Dave’s Outboard Motors.” Today Dave Jr. and his wife Marie own and operate the business. It is still “Dave’s Outboard Motors.”
Now back to the fudge.
Dave said he and Nancy started making fudge years ago and giving it to people who worked on the holidays — police, firemen, hospital workers and many others. The fudge recipe came from Nancy’s mother, Ma Gunning, and it’s never been tweaked or changed. It is the original.
Dave said he and Nancy originally started giving it out over the holidays. He estimates he made 160 to 180 pounds of fudge at holiday time.
People caught on quickly and wanted to get the fudge themselves, he said.
“I had people call me up and say, ‘How do I get on your list?’” Dave said.
After 64 years of marriage, Nancy passed away in 2009. Dave continues to make fudge, now throughout the year, not just at holiday time.
Fourteen months ago, Dave became a resident at Water’s Edge Retirement Community, living independently in his own apartment. He now makes fudge either weekly or every two weeks. Each batch is 20 pounds.
“It’s a lot of fudge, but when I hand it out it’s not enough,” he said.
Recently, he gave a very elderly lady at Water’s Edge some fudge.
“I asked her if she can eat fudge,” he said, and she did. He said he always checks with caregivers before he hands out the fudge to residents.
“Since I’ve moved to Water’s Edge, my customer list has grown,” Dave said, adding that last week he gave out 43 plates of fudge.
“My next stop is the sheriff’s department. I owe them some fudge,” Dave said.
Dave has no plans to stop making fudge. “I’m not ready to sit in the window and count bird feathers,” he said.
Candi McConnell, director of Water’s Edge Senior Apartments, said, “Dave’s homemade fudge is so good, he could sell it. I would guess that most residents and tenants of Water’s Edge have enjoyed Dave’s sweet treat.”
“I get a kick out of making fudge and giving it to people,” he said. “It makes me feel good.”