Saturday, April 13, 2024

Leavenworth’s Iconic “ Father Christmas” will always be remembered

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David Severance and his twin sister Lynn were born in 1943 in Seattle, Washington. David had public service in his blood and upon graduating from High School in 1961, he joined the United States Marine Corps Reserve for 8 years. David and his sister moved back to Seattle to attend the University of Washington. 

David, again wishing to serve his community, joined the Seattle Police Department in 1963, serving as a Patrolman for 30 years, at one time instructing at the Police Academy. He was awarded the Law Enforcement Dedication Medal from the Sons of the American Revolution. While a police officer, David taught at Shoreline Community College for eight years, in the Criminal Justice Program,  and he served as President of the Washington Criminal Justice Educators’ Association for two years. He served as Vice President of the International Footprinters Association, before moving to Leavenworth. David moved from Seattle to Leavenworth on August 15, 1996, after retiring from the Seattle Police Department. On that day he joined the Washington State Autumn Leaf Festival Association and was a member of Projekt Bayern and the Leavenworth Royal Bavarians.

One year after joining the Autumn Leaf Festival Association, David was elected President and served in that capacity five times. In 2016 he was named Co-grand Marshal with then Publisher and owner of the Wenatchee World Wilfred Woods. David was honored again to be the Grand Marshal in 2022.

 In 2001 and 2017 David was elected Kanzler of the Royal Bavarians.

In 1998, David joined the Marine Corps League Detachment 806 in Wenatchee.  He served as their Commandant for five years and is a Lifetime Member of the League. He also joined the American Legion, Post #10 in Wenatchee, becoming a Lifetime member in 2021.

In 1998, he joined the Chelan County Sheriff’s Citizens Advisor Committee, serving as Chairman from 1999 to 2015.  Each May he conducted a “Law Enforcement Appreciation Ceremony” to commemorate fallen officers.  He was also Vice President of the Stevens Pass Greenway/Byway.

In 1999, he joined the board of the Junior Miss Scholarship Program of Leavenworth and continued as a board member as it acquired the name of Distinguished Young Woman Scholarship Program.

David joined the Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce in 1996 and remained  active until his passing. 

In 1997, David developed the Christmas figure “Father Christmas”, an Old-World Christmas figure whose traditions followed the Pilgrims to the New World.  He appeared in his green robe costume annually, during the Christmas Lighting Festival and other occasions in Leavenworth and Wenatchee. 

At about the same time, he became Saint Nicholas for Projekt Bayern for their Christkindlmarkt Festival.  He has appeared as Father Christmas on “Good Morning America” several times, including a live stream to the New York studio of a Christmas Lighting ceremony, The “Today Show”, “Home and Garden Network”, the “Food Channel” and the “Arts and Entertainment Network, when Leavenworth received the “Ultimate Holiday Town” award.  As Father Christmas, he has appeared in many Chambers of Commerce ads and videos for Leavenworth, broadcast throughout the Pacific Northwest.

David was also a member of the Leavenworth Lions Club since 2006, serving as Zone Chairman, President and Secretary.

In 2002, David was selected for the founding board of the Upper Valley Museum, where he held the position as Secretary/Treasurer and then as President for two years and was a lifetime member the Board of the Upper Valley Historical Society, now known as the Greater Leavenworth Museum.

David moved into Mountain Meadows Assisted Living Campus in December 2011. He passed away suddenly the morning of April 11, 2023, at Mountain Meadows. A memorial service for David and his brother Mike who passed away in December was held in Mountlake Terrace on Sunday, April 23. A service has not yet been planned for Leavenworth.


 

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