Goodbye Santa

Richard J. “Rick” Papp, 63 of Salida, died at 8:15 a.m. Feb. 23, 2012, at his home surrounded by family, after battling prostate cancer for a year. Do you have a story?

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3 Responses to “Goodbye Santa”

  1. Miki Hodge

    It was my first year in Salida and I was waiting tables at Amica's at night and starting up Chaffee County Mentors in the day..writing grants, begging for volunteers, meeting alot of great kids. It was the holiday season and I heard about Rick being the Salida Santa. I called him and asked if he could come to our holiday mentor event at the Salida Hot Springs pool. I told him I didn't have money to pay him yet, he said it absolutely didn't matter, he was happy to help our new organization. He sat in his hot santa suit for almost 2 hours by the pool for our party- while over 50 kids took turns soaking his lap in their wet swim suits. He was so selfless. He gave every child his kind and sincere attention, plus that twinkle in his eye. Thank you Rick.

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  2. Robin

    Rick was the Daddy of one of my of my dear, sweet kiddos....always in my heart. He was the model Daddy. He was a participant in the Salida 3P. He was one of my volunteers....always willing to do anything, and apologizing if he could not. He was the husband to the most charismatic, kind soul on earth! He was also a Daddy to a boy that he ADORED! He was a dear friend to so many! He was Santa to me, to my child, to my family. He was the read deal. I believe!
    At Rick's service today, we were asked by his dear friend to write down what Rick meant to us, and pass it on to his family....
    Rick meant the world to me because he was as real as they come. He is an angel now, but that is no surprise, because he has always been an angel on earth. Rick meant the world, because he made me feel like I had a real guardian angel. I know my parents are always looking over me, but maybe Rick was their chosen one...the one that they picked out for me, for so many. I would see him, and felt this sense of comfort, security, love...which is indescribable! He really was put on this earth to share, to love, to teach us all about compassion. What an amazing model, that we will talk about for the rest of our lives!
    I would like to see a permanent ornament up on Christmas mountain, in Rick's honor....Salida Fire Dept....can you make this happen? A permanent ornament that looks down on us every single Christmas so we are reminded of the gifts that Rick brought to our lives, and so we can look up at that mountain and reflect on the magic of this community, and the "heart of the Heart of the Rockies", Rick Papp.

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  3. Jill

    We have been in Salida for 4 Christmases. My children repeatedly experienced Rick's familiar face, his smile, and as stated above, the twinkle in his eye --- at the Christmas parade, at preschool, at Tea with Santa --- year after year. Rick Papp was (and is) "the real Santa" to my kids; all others were "just someone dressed up" (their words!!). I did not know him personally, but even a casual observer could tell that he delighted in being Santa; it's even more evident as I look through four years of photos with my children. He was kind, patient, and must have had one great sense of humor. Rick was one of so many things that make Salida special, and for that we are grateful. Bless you, Mr. Papp.

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