couriernews
SHARP 
Weather Updates

‘Uncle Gene’ plays Santa for 62 years

Gene Murtas is truly jolly old soul as he's volunteered his time many organizations groups for past 62 years as

Gene Murtas is truly a jolly old soul as he's volunteered his time to many organizations and groups for the past 62 years as Santa. He proudly displays this on his Santa hat emblem and changes the number each year. This sometimes prompts questions from parents of what the 62 means, and he quietly tells them out of the ear-shot of the children, that he's been Santa since he was 18 years old.

storyidforme: 22749491
tmspicid: 8459732
fileheaderid: 3824335

Updated: January 17, 2012 8:10AM



Friends and family members say Gene Murtas is truly a jolly old soul as he’s volunteered his time to many organizations and groups for the past 62 years as Santa. He proudly displays this on his Santa hat emblem and changes the number each year.

This sometimes prompts questions from parents of what the 62 means, and he quietly tells them out of the ear-shot of the children, that he’s been Santa since he was 18 years old.

With his 80th birthday right around the corner, he’s been the Santa for the Snowflake Holiday Event at Hilltop Elementary School in Elgin for the past 6 years, where his great-nephew Tyler attends.

With this being Tyler’s last year with the school, last week he constructed a new backdrop for the Pictures with Santa; something that he wanted to leave with the school so they would have it in the years to come to remember him by.

“When you hear Uncle Gene “Santa” talk to the children and that he recognizes them from past years, or to do well in school and listen to their parents, you can see the goodness in his eyes, and it makes us so proud that he has done this for our son’s school for the past 6 years,” says Pam Jacknick, whose husband Joe is Gene’s nephew. “It’s something that our son Tyler and the other Hilltop children will remember for years to come”.



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.