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- Jimmy Lomax
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James (Jimmy) William Lomax (1943-2011), was best known as Hamilton's Santa Claus. As a child, Jimmy spent many Christmases in the hospital because of a lung disease that doctors originally diagnosed as likely being fatal. While in the hospital, a visit from Santa changed his young life. Jimmy survived his lung disease and it was this second chance at life that inspired him to become Santa to other less fortunate people, especially children. After attending Delta Secondary School, Jimmy worked as a steelworker at Stelco to support his family and to help support his volunteer job as Santa Claus. He and his wife Susan, who was often referred to as Mrs. Claus, would volunteer their time to a project they called Operation Santa Claus. Along with their young son Ryan, they visited thousands of children and adults annually, distributing gifts and holiday cheer. Jimmy's role as Santa began as a teenager in 1958 with a small bag of candy, a Santa suit and a big heart. Over the years, Operation Santa Claus grew to become a full-scale operation with numerous volunteers and donors. From 1958 until 2010, Lomax volunteered countless hours to fundraise for Operation Santa Claus, raising thousands of dollars annually to buy presents for those in need. The recipients of his generosity were mostly low-income families, children with intellectual challenges, hospital patients, group home residents, nursing home residents, and individuals living in shelters.
Jimmy's selfless dedication and generosity to his community earned him awards and recognition, including the Outstanding Young Hamiltonian Award, the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship, the Queen's Jubilee Medal, as well as membership in the Order of Canada. Even after the death of his son Ryan in 1987, as well as his own health issues, Lomax's dedication to Operation Santa Claus never wavered until he was forced to retire the role in 2010 due to health complications, after more than 5 decades as Santa. Lomax retired from Stelco after 38 years and he died in 2011. The city of Hamilton honoured him by establishing the Jimmy Lomax Beach Boulevard Park near where he and his family lived. However, Lomax's true legacy as Hamilton's Santa lives forever in the minds and hearts of many Hamiltonians, who personally experienced his kindness and generosity during the holiday season.
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Cox, Christine, "Remembering Jimmy Lomax: Santa to 500 Families," Hamilton Spectator (Hamilton), December 21, 2016.
Dreschel, Andrew, "The Life and Legend of Jimmy Lomax," Hamilton Spectator (Hamilton), December 28, 1987.
Escott, Stacey, "Jimmy Lomax Enters Santa Hall of Fame," Hamilton Spectator (Hamilton), December 28, 2011.
Hammond, Laverne. "Christmas in July: Jimmy Lomax's Operation Santa Claus." June 26, 1981.
Lawson, Brent. "The Man Behind the Suit," Hamilton Spectator (Hamilton), December 22, 2006.
Rielly, Emma. "Santa Legend Jimmy Lomax Dies," Hamilton Spectator (Hamilton), October 11, 2011.