SOUTHINGTON – Local firefighter Thomas Light Sr., who was known for volunteering as Santa Claus at numerous community events, has died. In his memory, the fire department will be holding a toy drive this Saturday so that Light can still bring joy to children for Christmas.
The collection will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 28 in the back lot of Southington Fire Company 3 at 35 Clark St. Donations with be used to provide Christmas gifts to children at the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.
Due to covid-19, donations of cash or Amazon gift cards only will be accepted by the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center at this time. However, Southington Community Services will also be there to accept donations of new, unwrapped gifts for children of ages birth to 17-years-old.
Thomas Light Sr., who was born in Long Branch N.J. in 1952, moved to Southington in 1979 with his wife Alice. According to his obituary, he was a devoted father of two children, Tom Jr. and Tracie, and also had two grandchildren. He recently celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary.
Light Sr. took "great pride" in being a volunteer fireman. His obituary states he was "always the first man there." After he retired from the department, he helped teach new fireman how to drive the ladder trucks.
Light Sr. also delighted in helping to make Christmas a special time of year for local children.
"Well known for being a big man with a big heart and an even bigger beard, he enjoyed playing Santa Claus for his grandchildren and family friends, eventually playing the role for several civic groups in town," the obituary states.
Town Councilor Victoria Triano, who works at the Southington Care Center, said that Light Sr. also was a bus driver for the center in as well as playing Santa Claus there.
“People loved him very, very much said Triano. “They will cherish his memory.”
On the Plantsville Funeral Home website, plantsvillefuneralhome.com, there is a space where people can leave their condolences for Light Sr.’s family.
Fred Sokolowski wrote he had “many good times with Tom” as part of Southington Fire Department Engine Company 1.
“Tom was a big help in training new drivers and he made a great Santa Claus,” he said. “Alice, Tommy, and Tracie, I think you can rest assured he is in a better place and at rest. Thoughts and prayers to you all.”
Timothy Murray, past captain of Engine Company 1, said Light Sr. will be greatly missed.
“Your involvement in the Southington Fire Department is truly something you should be very proud of,” he wrote. “When I was captain of SFD CO#1, I could always know that I could depend on you when an alarm of fire came in. You were the first to get the temporary white ice cream fire truck on the road when we needed it. Alice, Tom Jr. and Tracie I am proud to know Tom. He was one of those people who did his job and did not complain. RIP my brother I will miss you.”
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.