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Remembering Town Santa, Mrs. Claus

Bench installed and dedicated at Town Park Plaza in memory of Bus and Ruby Benson.

Early in October, several members of the gathered near the Los Gatos U.S. Post Office on South Santa Cruz Avenue to dedicate a bench in memory of the late Bus and Ruby Benson.

The longtime Los Gatos couple, now deceased, are admired and fondly remembered by many town residents, especially family members, who felt something was needed to honor their memory.

Spearheaded by Betty Miller, Ruby Benson's sister, the family bought a bench which was then dedicated by town officials and Los Gatos Mayor Joe Pirzynski around the days of the The bench has a small plaque that reads: "In memory of F. E. 'Buss' and Ruby Benson. Live Oak Inn, 1943-1978."

The Live Oak Inn reference is related to the Bensons' purchase in the 1940s of the Live Oak Inn at the corner of North Santa Cruz Avenue and Highway 9, which they operated for 25 years until they retired. The Inn is now .

For years the Bensons were active in the community through the Los Gatos Lions Club, said Los Gatos Lions Club president-elect Michael Moresco.

For 28 years, Bus Benson is said to have driven up and down the streets of Los Gatos in his golf cart dressed as Santa Claus and participated annually in the Los Gatos Children's Christmas and Holidays Parade tossing candy to children, Moresco said.

He also was the Jolly Old Fellow that plugged in the town Christmas tree, Moresco remembered.

Benson was president of the Los Gatos Lions Club and the , and was a member of the Elks Club.

Ruby Benson died Dec. 22, 2009 and Bus Benson died in October of 1983.

Ruby also served as the Christmas parade grand marshal. She was Miss Los Gatos in the early 1950s during the Fiesta de los Gatos festival. She also graduated from .

"They would be thrilled at the bench and happy that it's facing the Christmas tree. They'll be able to greet their friends in front of the post office," said Miller, a San Jose resident who also lived in Los Gatos for many years.

Sheila Sanchez (Editor) November 22, 2011 at 04:46 PM
First, a huge thank you to Mike Moresco for bringing us this story and to sweet Betty Miller for providing these amazing photos of the old Los Gatos Santa and Mrs. Claus. Like I told Mike on the phone yesterday, I'm sad these angels are gone. :(
Kelly DeGrange November 22, 2011 at 09:00 PM
Wow! What memories - every christmas sitting on Santa's lap and then one day realizing it was my parent's friend Bus all along. Still have pics of me on Bus' lap with my candy cane and black boots. Couldn't have been a more perfect Santa. Two of the nicest people you'd ever meet! Thanks for the picture and memories.

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