By Carlo Klemm
R.I.P. Sergent, Wilfred "Freddie" (Santa Fred)
September 6, 2018
Independent Record. Obits
Excerpt: July 25, 1941 – Sept. 2, 2018
On the afternoon of September 2, 2018, at the age of 77, Freddie passed away peacefully of natural causes in Helena, MT.
Freddie was born in Glasgow, MT on July 25, 1941. He was youngest of nine children born to Benjamin and Delilah Sergent.
After attending school in Glasgow, MT, Freddie joined the Army in August,1958 where was recognized as an Expert-Carbine and also completed his GED.
He reached the rank of Pfc E3 (T).
After leaving the service Freddie enjoyed a rich life full of adventure, including a period of professional gambling in Las Vegas, and many years in the entertainment industry as a Professional Santa Claus. During this period, he traveled to major cities and thrilled young and old alike as he brightened their holiday and listened to their Christmas wish list. After retiring to Helena, he continued to play Santa at many community events, including his last performance at Apple Rehab Cooney 2 weeks prior to his passing.
A graveside service with military honors will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, September 7th in the committal shelter at Montana State Veterans, Fort Harrison. In lieu of flowers, memorials in honor of Santa Fred are suggested to Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, Gift Processing Administrator, 18251 Quantico Gateway Drive, Triangle, VA 22172. Please visit www.aswfuneralhome.com to offer the family a condolence or to share a memory of Santa Fred.
By Carlo Klemm
Gone too soon: Cottage Grove man was father, firefighter, missionary, EMT
June 27, 2018
By William Loeffler - Woodbury Bulletin
Excerpt - COTTAGE GROVE — It's a measure of the life lived by Steven Duane Cozad that his unexpected death affected so many.
Cozad, 48, of Cottage Grove died June 20 after he was found unresponsive at his home, Newport Fire Chief Steve Wiley said. Cozad served with Wiley on the Newport Fire Department for over 20 years.
Cozad's family lost a husband, provider, father and grandfather. The Newport Fire Department lost a capable and courageous comrade. Needy children and families from Newport to Kenya lost a benefactor and advocate.
And someone else will have to dress as Santa Claus during the Newport Fire Department Food and Toy Drive in December.
As a boy, Cozad received toys that were donated by local firefighters. That left a lasting impression; around 2000, he organized the Newport toy drive. For about two years, he ran most of it on his own, he told the Bulletin in a 2016 story.
"I made homemade signs in my garage; they were probably pretty tacky," he said. "I would go drive around and pick (the donations) up."
The Newport Fire Department started bringing one of the trucks out to the North Pole at the Newport Center — where Cozad dressed as Santa Claus each year while collecting donations.
By 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.”
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.