Last Sleigh Rides

Santa Joe 



Santa Joe was also known as “Mr. Tricky” and “Professor Stumbledorf.”

An internationally recognized magician, he was a master illusionist, developer of magic tricks, the founding member of the Kidabra magician’s association, and owned a magic shop in Ohio. Always an entertainer, he renamed his funeral to “Fun-eral” and sponsored a party at a local steak house for the occasion. Four Santas were present at his “Fun-eral,” where his fellow magicians broke his “magic wand” in recognition that the magic is in the man, not in the stick.

Departed September 30, 2012

Santa Ben


In the summer of 2013, at the age of 94, Santa Ben was recognized as “the oldest living Triangle Santa Buddy.” He recited and pledged the Santa Oath, sang the TSB anthem, “Here Comes Santa Claus.” Thereafter, every hospice visit with Santa AL was a TSB meeting.

He had done Santa work and voicing in northern California before moving to North Carolina for terminal health care.

Departed September 24, 2013

Santa Mark



Santa Mark was an active Triangle Santa Buddy for several years. Challenged by debilitating diabetes, he continued to do Santa work. A year before his last sleigh ride he received recognition from one of his churches for 30 years of service as Santa to the church. His positive outlook and twinkling eyes informed his Santa character. His craftsman’s skill was reflected in his dental prosthetics business and in his fine furniture.

Thank you, Santa Mark, for sharing the spirit of Christmas through the presence of Santa Claus.

Departed June 28, 2014

Last Sleigh Ride

by Santa Nelson Burke

I see the countless Christmas trees around the world below,

The tiny lights like heaven’s stars reflecting on the snow.

The sight is so spectacular, please wipe away that tear,

For I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

I hear the many Christmas songs that people hold so dear,

But the sounds of music can’t compare with the Christmas choir we have up here.

I have no words to tell you, the joy their voices bring,

Words beyond description, to hear the angels sing.

Life is but a stopping place, a pause in what’s to be,

A resting place along the road to sweet eternity.

We all have different journeys, different paths along the way,

We all were meant to learn some things, but never meant to stay.

Our destination is a place far greater than we know,

For some the journey’s quicker, for some the journey’s slow.

And when the journey finally ends, we will claim a great reward,

And find the everlasting peace, together with the Lord.

So remember me as Santa and wipe away that tear,

But remember that I am spending my Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

Santa Pete

LEARY, Pete (Paul) 

Santa Pete joined the Triangle Santa Buddies in 2011. His other character was the Leprechaun in Raleigh’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. A printer by trade he was a singer, story teller, song writer, guitarist, musician produced 3 albums of original music. Founder & leader of Democratic Men’s Group of Raleigh. Lead conferences, programs and activities of Unitarian Universalism including the rebuilding of Shelter Neck Unitarian Universalist Camp in Pender County, NC after the 1999 hurricane and flood. He was a regular at O’Malley’s Irish Pub.

Departed December 23, 2014

Santa Mike


A chef, restauranteur, grandfather, Knight of Columbus, and a professional Santa Claus, Santa Mike joined TSB in 2013. His Santa philosophy is reflected in some of his sayings, “Christmas is a state of mind, enjoy it.” “No distance is too far to make you smile.” “Bringing joy to others is a way of life.” Santa Mike brings, “Holiday cheer to the young and less young.”

Departed March 2, 2015

Santa Weaver 

WEAVER, Howard

Santa Howard Weaver was a long time member of the Triangle Santa Buddies. As a carpenter he built his own sleigh and a couple of plywood reindeer for his Santa set at the Lowes Grocery store at Chatham Crossing. He was Pittsboro’s Parade Santa in his red pickup truck and did other special events. A beloved Boy Scout leader for Brown’s Chapel UMC Pittsboro, his kindness, care, compassion, joy, hope and delight in life was the Santa Spirit he shared with children of all ages.

Departed January 13, 2015

Santa Rick


Santa Rick joined the Triangle Santa Buddies in 2013. However he has been doing Santa work for over 30 years having started as a young man. His sports interest and knowledge have him being Santa to professional clubs, teams and corporate boards all along the East Coast. He enjoyed using accessories when working as Santa. He was generous in sharing his accessories with his Triangle Santa Buddies.

Santa Rick Departed

        September 19, 2016

Santa George


Santa George was a founding member of the Triangle Santa Buddies.  He received his diploma in SantaClausology upon graduation from the International University of Santa Claus. 

He had worked in local malls, parades, photo studios, country clubs, the Pullen Park Train, Raleigh’s Celebration of Lights and private appearances.   He was quiet and easy going. 

He spent his summers as an instructor at the Summer Boy Scout Camp.

Santa George Departed

                  December 9, 2017      

Santa Dwight

5900 Compton Rd.  Cedar Grove, NC 27231



Santa Dwight is a founding member of the Triangle Santa Buddies and has over twenty five years of experience. He has been a mall Santa in Durham and Raleigh.

Santa Dwight Departed

                  Nov 1, 2018

Santa Charlie

EASTON, Charles L.
406 Salem Rd. Oxford, NC 27565-0696  

Santa Charlie, is an early member of the Triangle Santa Buddies. He has done parades, home visits and for the past two years been a “tag team Santa” at Crabtree Valley Mall with his long time Santa Buddy, Santa Dwight Compton of Cedar Grove. His custom red corduroy suit was fashioned by a local Oxford seamstress.

Santa Charlie departed on April 4th, 2019

Santa Ellis & Mrs. Sondra 


201 Bud Tudor Rd.

Fuquay-Varina, NC 27526



Santa Ellis retired in 2006 from Lucent Technologies after 36 years. “For 45 years my hobby was officiated sporting events. I love being around kids (they keep me young). My wife, Sondra, joined me in 2012 as Mrs. Claus and we are now a team bringing Joy, Love and Peace whenever the door opens to us.” For the 2014 season the Stephens converted their den into a special setting, (see picture) they call “Santa’s Secret Cabin”  for unique and magical photo experiences.

Santa Ellis died on June 4, 2021

Mrs Faymarie Hansel

9204 Stratus St

Willow Springs, NC 27592

In 2018 Faymarie told her husband, Santa Bob Hansel, that she wanted to go with Santa and he needed to get her dress. So he got an dress and in 2019 she went with him to all of his Santa events. In 2020, she was a little too sick to go but was so looking forward to 2021 and wanted a new and better dress. She love being Mrs. Claus.

Mrs Faymarie Claus died on Jan  31, 2022