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Sarasota Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019 1 year ago

Longtime St. Armands Santa Glynn Armitage dies at 82

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Shop owner and member of the Circle board of directors recalled as a man who put family first.
by: Amelia Hanks Community Reporter

Glynn Armitage might not have been immediately recognizable in a sport coat and tie, but imagine him with a fluffy white beard and jolly red suit, and his appearance probably would ring a bell.

A Christmas bell.

Armitage, who portrayed Santa Claus in the St. Armands Holiday Parade for years and served on the board of directors for the St. Armands Circle Association, died Feb. 9. He was 82.

Bill Carman, who owned Carman’s Shoes in the 1990s when Armitage owned the Mole Hole gift shop in the popular shopping district, said he’ll always remember Armitage as a model shopkeeper.

“If you needed Glynn, he would be there to help,” Carman said. “I wish there were 10 more like Glynn.”

Judy Armitage remembers her husband’s time as the St. Armands Circle Santa fondly. The Armitages raised three children, Ashley Schultz, Nancy Armitage and Scott Armitage.

“He was great with kids,” said Judy. “He just had a way with them. He would tell us the funny parts of being Santa and the sad parts when a child would say, ‘Please get my parents well,’ or ‘Get them back together,’ and that used to really bother him.”

Armitage stopped portraying Santa when his knees started hurting. He was Santa for six years — from 2009 to 2014.

“He was just so family-oriented,” Judy said. “I remember asking him when we lived in Detroit why he didn’t want to go out with the people he worked with after work. He said he didn’t want to be involved in all that.”

After 47 years of marriage, Judy said the thing she’ll miss most about her husband is being able to hold his hand.

Armitage’s memorial service will begin at 10:30 a.m. March 2 at Church of the Palms. Judy said everyone is invited to wear red.

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