Lackey’s Dairy Queen


Founder of Lackey’s Dairy Queen, Paul Lackey was born in Cranberry Township, when Cranberry Twp was just a dirt road and a few farms. He attended Mars High School and played football. He received a football scholarship, but didn’t use it because he said “I only owned one pair of decent trousers.” In 1938 Paul met and married Beatrice Goetz from West View.  Together they had two daughters Alice and Joyce, and one son Gene. In 1943, gratefully utilizing the talent of several family members they started construction of their home near Saxonburg. Paul worked for Armco Steel as a machinist for nearly 25 years but could never get used to the swing shift work.

Lackeys Dairy Queen

DQ family
The Lackey Family 1954

Paul enjoyed a Dairy Queen treat now and then at a Dairy Queen on Route 8 in Penn Twp.  It was there that they met Al and Helen Riggle who owned and operated it. Al Riggle told Paul to find a location on a good well traveled road, and Al would sell him a Dairy Queen franchise and help him get started. Paul would park along the road at several locations until he found the best site right here along the Kiski River on Route 66 in North Apollo. The property was bought from Mr Bash and was actually a very large hole that needed a lot of fill.  With much work from family and friends, Lackeys Dairy Queen was built and opened in July 1955. About that same time Paul and Bea were blessed with another daughter Dolly.


That very first day in late July 1955 when the store first opened for business, they didn’t have money in the cash drawer to make change. Their first customer was a man who ordered a sundae and needed change. Paul told him to just enjoy it and to drop the money off next time.  As he said, “You can run a business on that. Give something away and it will come back in some way when you need it most.”  Later in the day they borrowed $80 from Bea’s father to put in the cash drawer.

August 3, 1955  The Formal Grand Opening  

Through The Years

Gene Lackey, working at the store, around 1963 and 1985.

Beauty Queen Contest 1958


Customers were able to vote every time they purchased a Dairy Queen item.

DQ 11

Eating Their Weight In Ice Cream!!

DQ 13
DQ 12

More Great Pictures!

Going Bananas!

DQ 17

Here is Gene with an awesome amount  of Bananas,
ready for a big 2 Day Banana Split Sale!

First Windbag Regatta on the Kiski River, 1971

Anything That Floats!

Celebrating 30 YearsDQ 22.png

First Place Float in Apollo’s 1985 Moon Landing Parade

The Future

The Lackey family has touched many hundreds of Apollo families over the last 62 years. Many kids worked summers to help pay for college or their first car; some even met future husbands or wives. It’s always been the place to go for a cool treat on a warm summer evening.

In January 2015, Matt Spires, an employee of the DQ, was able to buy the business when Gene & Jan Lackey retired.  Matt is now married and has a baby boy.  He is committed to continuing the great reputation that Lackey’s Dairy Queen has enjoyed through the years.

An article from the Valley News Dispatch, Monday, Feb. 24, 2020

Thank you. Dolly Lackey McCoy, for providing the photos & info for use in this blog.

10 thoughts on “Lackey’s Dairy Queen

  1. Maggie fountain September 27, 2017 / 8:37 pm

    My parents would take all 6 kids here for a treat quite often! That was back in the late 60’s when this started! Today I can say I enjoy still having the pleasure to come here, and to bring my grandchildren also! Lackey’s has always had and will serve the best tasting ice cream of all times!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dianna Sloan September 27, 2017 / 9:32 pm

    Very nice Dolly This has always been a favorite place of mine. I worked for your dad, Gene and Jan, and now Matt. Your family has had great pride in this DQ and I am sure it will continue and be a favorite place for alot of people

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Rosemary J Brown September 28, 2017 / 3:29 pm

    So happy that the Dairy Queen will continue. Delicious photos and memories Dolly. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Linda Sturges April 2, 2018 / 2:14 pm

    Hi Dolly,
    I enjoyed the pictures and information with my Grandson Gabriel today.
    I was born in 1957 so of course I didn’t get their much until I grew up. Know I
    make it a point to stop as often as possible and enjoy it with my Grandchildren.
    Thank you for keeping it open…

    Liked by 1 person

    • apollopahistory April 2, 2018 / 2:23 pm

      Hi Linda, Dolly just gave me the photos for the blog. Glad you enjoyed it! The Lackeys no longer own the DQ but were able to sell it to someone who loves it as much as they did! I’m glad you are visiting our website! Sue


  5. Marilyn Mitchell Stull July 28, 2019 / 12:28 am

    Our family moved to North Apollo where their were ashes for streets and nothing but brush from our new house to where they started work on the dairy queen. We use to pick berrries on what I believe was the old railroad or trolley tracks to go get ice cream.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Gil &Ruth Filer July 28, 2019 / 7:33 am

    A sweet photojournal.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Scott Rupert February 24, 2020 / 6:56 pm

    My dad harry rupert would get word of when the dairy queen would open and past the word and when im out looking for him i didnt have to go far hes eating ice cream 4 times aday but sad to say back in sept he had passed. Just putting the word out there its the best icecream in the kiski valley lets go for another 63 yrs to keep it going


    • Apollo Area Historical Society February 25, 2020 / 7:42 am

      We agree, Scott…Lackey’s Dairy Queen is the best!! Sorry to hear of your dad’s passing, but glad he enjoyed his ice cream.


  8. Morgan October 14, 2020 / 7:07 pm

    This is so great that lackey’s Dairy Queen is still open because I could not live with out it, it is the best place to go for Ice cream.

    Liked by 1 person

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