Samuel L. Solace, Class of 1958

December 24, 1999
Santa Paula High School
Samuel L. Solace, Class of 1958 By Beverly J. Harding, President, SPUHS Alumni AssociationYes, my friends, there is a Santa Claus.For some of our alumni it takes a little longer time to find our niche in life, but “Sammy” has certainly found his. Each year at this time, Sammy is off to St. Louis, Missouri to play Santa Claus.In this job he has the joy of the season, as he listens to all the toddlers tell what they want Sant to bring them for Christmas. He has to be careful not to promise them anything, but he does have a way of advising parents of what the children have requested.Our Santa does not have to wear a fake beard or add girth for this job, since he is already groomed for the part. He feels quite at home holding the children and having his picture taken with them.In December you can find Sam at the South Counties Mall near the Arches in St. Louis. Before this he was with the Woodlands Mall in Houston, Texas for two years, and the Landmark Mall in Alexandria, Virginia for a year.Sam, the son of William and Leona Dunkel Solace, Class of 1933, was raised by his grandparents, the former popular painter and artist Sam Dunkel and his wife Vera. Sam has a sister, Vera Mae, Class of 1961.
Sam was born and raised in Santa Paula, and was in the Santa Paula school system and a Life Science major at Ventura Junior College. At SPUHS he credits Neil Currier for his interest in photography, and he had the good fortune of taking all his Senior Class pictures and working for Bob Fogata shooting weddings. He also took all the pictures for his mother’s Eastern Star installation, and put his cooking talents to work to prepare the dinner for this occasion.His musical talents Sam attributes to the late H. Peyton Johnson, who guided him through grade and high school. Sam was with the Ventura County Symphony Orchestra for two years as a trumpet player, and is still playing the bugle. He has given his service of playing “Taps” for almost every military funeral in Ventura County for 45 years, and for this service has been adopted by the Mercer-Prieto Chapter of VFW as an honorary member, even though he did not have military service.Sam was particularly fond of his former teachers Mildred Flickinger, Rhe Nelson, Bob Raitt and Neil Currier, and kept in touch with them until their passing. He still remembers Doug Lazenby and keeps in touch with him.Following Ventura J.C., Sam worked for Chase Brothers Dairy and Foster Freeze, and then for the U.S. Post Office as a letter carrier for 26 years.Sam married Wanda Swindle, and they had three children, Samuel, Stephanie and Scott. Unfortunately this marriage ended in divorce.Then he met the “light of his life.” “Mrs. Claus,” from Fillmore, works as a cable splicer for General Telephone. She brought to their marriage two children, of whom Sam is very fond. They are members of the Church of Latter Day Saints, where they keep active when Sam is not bringing happiness and memories to little children.

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