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DALLAS Wild About Harry's restaurant in the Knox-Henderson neighborhood of Dallas opened a little late.

Owner Harry Coley, 75, died last week and was laid to rest Monday. But there was never any doubt that the hum of Harry's freezer would roar again.

'I know we're all going to miss him,' said long time employee Edith Finley.

Childhood friend Meredith Cunningham, just back from owner Coley's funeral, was waiting for the shop to open while re-living memories of Coley, the unofficial mayor of the Knox-Henderson neighborhood.

'People were standing in line to talk to him,' she said. 'It's like, 'We came to talk to you, too.' Everybody wanted to talk to him.

While kids and adults alike went to Wild About Harry's for the chili hot dogs and custard creations, they came back for Harry, who always seemed to be there.

'This was just the perfect place for him,' said friend Bill Cunningham. 'He loved to visit with people, find out about them, and fantastically remember them.'

Coley, who ran his ice cream oasis for 18 years, died of complications from lung cancer.

He will surely be missed by customers young, old, and even famous like Troy Aikman and certainly by the people who knew and loved him most: His staff.

'Harry's legacy? Harry's legacy is kids, ice cream, and fun,' Finely said. 'That's his legacy.'

And it's as if that spirit lingers in the continuous hum of compressors that keep Harry's custard cold and ready for the next customer.

E-mail dschechter@wfaa.com

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