Story by Jennifer O’Connor
Children of all ages were delighted to visit with Santa Claus on Sat., Dec. 23 at Akins Pharmacy in Warwick. After the visit, many of the children said to their parents as they were leaving the store “that was the ‘real’ Santa.” Even the shyest of children eventually warmed up to Tim Stocken, also known as Santa Claus, who has the ability to make everyone feel comfortable and special.
Tim grew up in Warwick and was thrilled to portray the role in his old stomping ground at Akins. He graduated from Warwick Valley High School in 1967 and recalls fond memories of hanging out with friends at Akins during his youth, where he listened to tunes on the jukebox and drank a “Black and White,” at the old-fashioned soda fountain, which is no longer there today.
Tim jokes that back then he was very thin and his friends called him “Timothy Stocking,” not realizing that one day he’d be wearing the red suit as the jolly old elf. He has been Santa since the 1990s at various malls and private parties. One of his favorite events is the annual Christmas party held for migrant farm workers.
Tim currently resides nearby in New Jersey but loves attending events in Warwick where he has deep roots. His family owned the Miller & Stocken Lumber Company that was once located on South St. His grandmother, Elsie Stocken, was a long-time organist at the Warwick Reformed Church.
“For sixty years my grandmother played the organ at the church. She never missed a Sunday and for that she holds a Guinness World Record,” said Tim.
Many adults that stopped in Akins who weren’t there to meet Santa knew Tim. Their faces lit up as they engaged in meaningful conversations with him and shared memories of the town they love.
Also during the event, which was sponsored by the Village of Warwick Sesquicentennial Committee, children received a dollar coin donated by George Arnott, a member of the committee, as well as toys donated by Smart Bucks, and free giveaways from the Greater Hudson Bank and the Warwick Valley Telephone Company.
Sesquicentennial event coordinator Mary Collura was on hand with her niece, Katelyn Whitmore, selling Sesquicentennial merchandise, which is still available for purchase at the following locations in Warwick – Frazzleberries, 24 Main St.; Newhards, 39 Main St.; Etched in Time, 58 Main St.; Ye Olde Warwick Book Shoppe, 31 Main St.; and Track 7 Postal Center, 3 Forester Ave.
Commemorative Booklet Available for Out-of-Towners
Items available range from ornaments to hats to T-shirts to mugs and more – all adorning the Village of Warwick Sesquicentennial logo. The newest addition for sale is the booklet commemorating the Village of Warwick’s 150th Anniversary.
The coffee table style book gives a retrospect of the Village’s year-long Sesquicentennial celebration and contains photos of events that took place throughout the entire year. The unique booklet also features interesting stories about the people and places that make up the fabric of the Warwick community.
The cost of the booklet is $14.95. For those who reside out of town, they can call Track 7 Postal Center at 544-1810 who will ship the booklet to them at the media rate.