Charles W. Howard Day, September 25, 2010, Albion, NY
Charles W. Howard was a talented man who touched the lives of millions of people around the world. He is most known as being the creator and dean of the world’s first Santa Claus School and appearing in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade; but, Charlie was a lot more than just his Santa persona. Throughout his life, he had a wide variety of interests that blended together to help make him a truly unique individual.
His list of endeavors includes making handmade toys at the Medina Toy Factory, creating the world’s largest apple pie, organizing county fair exhibits, creating his own Ice cream recipe, and a strong participation in community theatre. The village of Albion, New York was Charlie’s home. He was born in Albion, married in Albion, raised a family in Albion and created magic from Albion that spread the world over. No matter where Charlie traveled, Albion was always carried in his heart and he always lovingly promoted his hometown.
Charlie’s partner in life was his wife Ruth. Together they formed a remarkable couple who supported each other in good times and rough times. Ruth was Charlie’s strength and she contributed to his successes in so many ways. It was her needle and thread that created his Santa suits. It was her devotion to their dreams that kept her husband’s creative energies flowing. Ruth also sacrificed many things. As Charlie traveled each Christmas Season, she stayed in Albion to run the household and monitor Christmas Park.
Charlie and Ruth had two children William and Gale. The Howards taught their children the values of family, honesty, and friendship. William and Gale were raised in the same farm house that had been in the Howard family for over 100 years. The community of Albion would be hard pressed to find a more loving family than Charles, Ruth, William, and Gale.
Besides being a family man with a creative spirit, Charlie was a man who lived each day with the goal of bringing a little bit of happiness to others. He did everything from the Heart. Charlie once stated that Santa Claus enters though the heart…Well the spirit of love and kindness that he exhibited in his life enters though the heart also. So today we honor and remember the Life and Legend that is Charles W. Howard with Santa Clauses from all over the country, local community leaders, friends, family, and …the four people, Charles, Jane, Doug, and Susan… who simply knew him as Grandpa.
Whether he was promoting one of his many projects or being Santa Claus, Howard never forgot what was really important. He was first and foremost Charles W. Howard... a son, a husband, father, grandfather, church elder, friend, and community minded citizen. He loved his family, his friends, his town, and he loved to smile and make people happy. Sadly, Howard passed away on May 1, 1966 at the age of 69.
During his life, Charles W. Howard never forgot the little boy inside himself that smiled at the world. He thought everyone should smile and nothing gave him more pleasure than when he could bring a smile to the face of another person, especially a child. It was a simple gift that he gave to everyone he met.
Phillip L. Wenz - September 25, 2010, Albion, NY