When Charley Ashbee died in 1962, the front page of the May 31 Ridgefield Press announced: “C.F. Ashbee, Santa Claus, Dies at 89.” By then the retired insurance executive had become a local legend.
“Mr. Ashbee spent nearly as much of his long life portraying Santa Claus and delighting the children of this town as he devoted to the insurance business,” the newspaper said in his obituary. “Donning a Santa Claus suit became a habit with Uncle Charley soon after he and Mrs. Ashbee settled here.”