Claude was born in 1883, and grew up as a child in Taylor. He worked for the Taylor police force until retirement. However, he suffered a stroke in 1936 and was bedridden at the age of 53. His church turned their attention to him and helped him out—cleaning house, doing his shopping. The Sunday school children would visit and sing songs for him.
In turn, Claude found a useful niche—he became the church’s telephone chairman. He would call members for church board meetings, reminding for choir practice and so on. For a few Christmases, the local phone company created a special service so that Claude could answer calls place by children to speak to Santa Claus. He became quite expert answering the children’s calls to Santa.
An article in the Taylor Daily Press, December 15, 1952 described Claude’s seasonal duties:
“Santa Calls: One of the most heartwarming projects any civic organization ever took on, in my estimation, is the Federated Business And Professional Women’s direct line to Santa Claus for the benefit of local children. All a youngster who wants to talk with Santa has to do is tell the operator he wants to talk to Santa Claus at the North Pole. A number isn’t necessary. This is wonderful for the kids. But what makes it even more heart warming is that the fellow who takes the calls really enjoys it. Santa Claus, in this case is, as you probably know, Claude Darlington, who has been confined to his home in a wheel chair for a long, long time. Claude loves children like few men do, and he enjoys talking with the children as much if not more, than they enjoy talking to Santa.”
When members of the community found out that Claude was growing tired of seeing the same wallpaper at home, church members re-papered his room as a Christmas gift. A fund was raised by his friends to purchase Claude a television set, to his great delight. Up till the end, Claude’s friends and fellow church members cared about him and visited him regularly. Claude passed away on Sunday morning, July 22, 1962.