Famous Santa Found Dead
Someone needs to let Virginia know.
John Toomey, who was known to many in San Francisco as Santa, passed away yesterday from unknown but natural causes, according to officials who found him on the floor of his hotel apartment.
The 20-year Union Square Macys veteran gained notoriety in the press when he was fired last December for having cracked what some have called somewhat lascivious jokes with parents while waiting for another batch of children to sit on his lap. I guess what made his belly shake like a bowl full of jelly did not sit so well with others.
Toomey’s firing caused him to appear on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show on more than one occasion, and led to a new job at Lefty O’Toul’s Hofbrau just down the road from the Macy’s he once graced for so many Novembers and Decembers.
At Lefty’s Toomey sat on what was known as the Holiday Throne, and helped bring in Christmas toys for needy children. “Because of John’s celebrity, we were able to collect 12,000 presents,” said O’Toul’s co-owner Nick Bovis.
Toomey’s perfect Santa profile caused him to suffer from high blood pressure and diabetes, both possible reasons for his passing. Neighbors said that Toomey had recently been under the weather. “He’d said he wasn’t feeling well for the past few days,” said neighbor Cynthia Simmons. Another neighbor said Toomey was “A real Santa in real life,” with many who had known him personally distraught over his untimely death.
If you checked Toomey’s personnel file at O’Toul’s you would not be able to tell his age, as he had written in “As old as my tongue and as slightly older than my teeth.” A statement truly in keeping with his Santa spirit, as was his official name on record - Kris Kringle. According to official state records, Toomey was 69 when he passed.
For many children in the Bay area, Toomey will be a part of their fond memories of having visited and spoken with a real, live Macy’s Santa. Let’s hope that a proper memorial is created, so that Toomey lives on in all of our hearts, especially around Christmas time.
I still believe.