• Adam C. Brooks

Remembering Orange's Own Santa Claus

by Ginger Broomes


Larry David was the Heritage House Museum Santa for more than 40 years, and was involved with many civic organizations and in the betterment of Orange. So much so, that he was named "Orange Citizen of the Year" - twice.




Sadly, Larry passed away February 12, 2020.


Saturday, December 11, 2021 has been declared "Larry David Remembrance Day" in Orange, Texas. In conjunction with their annual "Pictures with Santa" event, Heritage House held a special ceremony commemorating the late Mr. David, and original Santa. Orange Mayor Larry Spears Jr. read the proclamation to dozens of David's family members who were in attendance.


There were also special Christmas ornaments commemorating Larry, and the Orange Lions Club, of which he was a longtime member, served "Uncle Larry Burgers" - a tribute to the special burgers he grilled for many Orange Lions Club charity carnivals.



PROCLAMATION: (courtesy of Heritage House)

Larry David Remembrance Day


"On this day, we remember Larry David, the man whose giving heart

made him Santa Claus for two generations of Orange children.

Larry was the Heritage House Museum Santa for more than 40 years.

He also appeared as the "jolly old elf" in the annual Christmas parade.

His gentleness and patience with children made him an unforgettable

Santa.


But Santa Claus was not his only gift to the community. Larry was a

longtime member of the Orange Lions Club and began grilling

hamburgers for the annual charity carnival with his father, Jules David.

Larry developed a special way of seasoning and cooking the burgers

that became known as "Uncle Larry Burgers."


He was also talented cooking gumbo. Through the years, he made

hundreds of gallons of gumbo for groups to sell or auction in

fundraisers. The groups included Catholic charities and Heritage House

Museum. His efforts raised thousands of dollars.


Larry served on the boards for Heritage House, Lions Club, Greater

Orange Area Chamber of Commerce, Stark Foundation, Malloy

Foundation, the local chapter of the American Red Cross, the

Evergreen Cemetery Association, and the Knights of Columbus. The

Chamber named him "Citizen of the Year" twice because of his

community contributions. He is one of only two people in the history of

Orange to earn that honor.


With his roots deep in Orange, Larry also became a local historian and

shared his knowledge with numerous groups.


In 2006, he fulfilled his call to serve God by becoming a Deacon in the

Roman Catholic Church.


Laurence Roger David was born on March 19, 1945, to longtime

Orange residents Elizabeth Dullahan David and Julius Huie David Jr.

He grew up in Orange and graduated from St. Mary High School in

1963. After graduating from Lamar University, he served in the U.S.

Army as finance clerk in Vietnam. He was proud of being a veteran and

serving his country.


When he was honorably discharged, he returned to Orange and joined

the David family business, Orange Insurance Agency. The business

stayed open for 90 years until he retired in 2018.


Larry passed away on February, 12, 2020, but he will remain in memory and history as one of Orange's treasured citizens."