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Carlo Klemm

Massillon’s Santa Tom embodied Christmas spirit, brought smiles to many

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Carlo Klemm

Massillon’s Santa Tom embodied Christmas spirit, brought smiles to many
June 19, 2018

By Amy L. Knapp - IndeOnline.com staff writer 

Excerpt  - MASSILLON - Tom White had a heart of gold and a Christmas spirit that lasted far beyond the holiday season.

For decades, White ushered in the holiday season in the city’s annual holiday parade, helped light up downtown and listened to children’s Christmas wishes as the city’s Santa Claus.

On Tuesday, the man known as Santa Tom died at the age of 72 after a battle with cancer.


“It’s a huge loss for Massillon,” White’s friend, Bonnie Fall, said.

Fall met White more than 20 years ago when he answered an ad seeking someone to portray Santa for the Downtown Massillon Association. After she talked to White, Fall figured she found her man.

“From that moment I knew he was our Santa,” she said.

White portrayed the Jolly Old Elf for more than 30 years. He got involved playing Santa in the 1980s with his wife, Carmela.



Fall said White was true to character. His knowledge and his storytelling mesmerized thousands of children through the years who sat on his lap.

“He would tell them that he saw them last year when he came down the chimney,” Fall said. “He would tell them how he found their feet where their head should be and their head where their feet should be. He so portrayed Santa. He would always tell you he was never a fake Santa.”


Further update: 

A short service will be 10:30 a.m. Saturday to honor and remember Tom White, who portrayed Santa Claus for the city for at least 20 years.

Friends can call from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at Paquelet Funeral Home, 1100 Wales Road NE.

White, 72, died Tuesday after a battle with cancer. For more than 30 years, he has spread Christmas cheer as the Jolly Old Elf. Every holiday season, White would hear the Christmas wishes of children who visited Santa’s Cottage in Duncan Plaza.

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:candles:Rest in Peace

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Felix Estridge

Rest in peace, brother in-Claus

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Santa Bill Reiller

Rest in Peace

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