James C “Jim” Albee

James C “Jim” Albee

Birth
San Francisco, San Francisco County, California, USA
Death 13 May 1997 (aged 74)
Los Gatos, Santa Clara County, California, USA
Burial San Jose, Santa Clara County, California, USA
Memorial ID 35415765 · View Source
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James Albee

James C. "Jim" Albee, the man who loved portraying one of society's most lovable characters--Santa Claus--died of cardiac arrest May 13 in his Los Gatos home. He was 74.

A native Californian, Albee was born Sept. 14, 1922, in San Francisco. He joined the U.S. Navy during World War II, where he served as a chief cook. He then worked for the San Francisco Municipal Railway, first as a cable car driver and then as a bus driver. Although a Los Gatos resident since 1962, he worked for the Municipal Railway until 1983, when he retired.

He began dressing as Santa Claus for the holidays while driving his San Francisco bus. Over the years he donned the garb of St. Nick at many different venues, including Woodside Plaza in Redwood City, The Emporium in Mountain View, Macy's in San Francisco and the Holiday Inn at San Francisco's Union Square.

"His persona was so close to the real Santa that people thought of him all year long as that person. Even when he was in regular clothes, kids would open their mouths in awe thinking he was really Santa," recalls friend Fred Doelker.

"He, like Santa, was short, with a round belly that shook like 'a bowl full of jelly.' He had the beard, the rosy cheeks, the dimples and the same jolly attitude. He was a friend to all, and all were his friends."

Albee was also an active volunteer for Opera San José.

Survivors include Fred Doelker of Los Gatos, a friend for more than 41 years; sister Myrtle Scatena of Redwood City; brothers Ward Albee of San Bruno and John Albee of San Mateo; many nieces and nephews; and the dogs who were like part of his family: fox terrier Halfie and French poodle Buffie.

Memorial services have been held, with interment at Los Gatos Memorial Park. Donations may be made to Opera San José, 2149 Paragon Dr., San Jose, 95131; Bubbling Well Pet Memorial Park, 2462 Atlas Peak Rd., Napa, 94558; or to the Diabetes Society of Santa Clara Valley, 1165 Lincoln Ave., Suite 300, San Jose, 95125.

This article appeared in the Los Gatos Weekly-Times, June 25, 1997.


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  • Created by: Sue Fitzpatrick
  • Added: 1 Apr 2009
  • Find a Grave Memorial 35415765
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for James C “Jim” Albee (14 Sep 1922–13 May 1997), Find a Grave Memorial no. 35415765, citing Los Gatos Memorial Park, San Jose, Santa Clara County, California, USA ; Maintained by Sue Fitzpatrick (contributor 47088541) .