Santa for Seniors: Bill Looney’s Community Legacy

Bill Looney didn’t want any senior to feel forgotten at Christmas.

A man of action, the Tacoma businessman equipped himself with a Santa suit that he would wear to local nursing homes. He brought gifts and made sure residents felt special.

The act transformed Looney and inspired him to launch Santa for Seniors through the William A. Looney Family Foundation before he died in 2015.

“The foundation’s mission is Remembering the Forgotten,” explained Looney’s widow Trudy. “Bill wanted to ensure that homebound and nursing home seniors with no nearby family would not be forgotten at Christmas.”

The Looney Family Foundation partnered with Lutheran Community Services Northwest this year to provide gifts for 361 homebound seniors in Pierce County. The foundation provided funds for purchasing gifts and the Santa suit originally used by Bill Looney.

This year, LCS Northwest home care provider Joe Matthiessen donned Bill’s Santa suit and teamed with Trudy Looney, who was dressed as Mrs. Claus. Together they visited home care clients at a Tacoma senior apartment building. LCS Northwest staff members delivered gifts to Meals on Wheels and Senior Companion clients.

“The clients were so grateful and many were moved to tears at being remembered,” remarked Trudy Sorensen, Area Director for LCS Northwest’s South Puget Sound programs.