Santa’s Helpers

In the top photo, Santa’s Helper (John Thaemert) listens as Tyler Weinhold shares his Christmas wishes. Above, Bill Grothusen was 2 months old when he met Santa’s Helper (George Jelinek) for the first time in 1959. Bill is in the arms of his sister, Marsha. Another sister, Ruth, looks on. To the left are Jimmiee Korinek, standing, and a laughing Jerry Soukup. In Santa’s hand is a package of Spearmint gum, which he offered to baby Bill. This apparently amused the onlookers. The photograph, by Dale Grothusen, was taken in the parish hall of the St. Bernard’s Catholic Church at a family Christmas party of a local pinochle club.

The holiday is a special time for local St. Nicks

It’s hard for Diane O’Connor not to celebrate the magic of the season without reflecting on memories of her uncle, the late George Jelinek.

For 34 years, Jelinek served as Ellsworth’s own Santa Claus. And for local children, Christmas just wasn’t complete without sitting on Santa’s lap.

As a young child, O’Connor never knew Santa’s true identity. The middle child in a family of five kids, she was a little older by the time she put it all together.

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