Morgan Hess

Morgan W. Hess, former Pierce County Sheriff’s Deputy and community Santa Claus, has died.

Hess, 66, passed away suddenly Monday morning, Sept. 13, at his residence.

Hess was in law enforcement for 35 years, including more than a decade with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office. He also worked with the Appling County Sheriff’s Office and the police departments in both Vidalia and Brunswick.

He also served as a neighborhood Santa Claus, appearing in the Blackshear Christmas parade and at school, civic and church events, bringing a visit from Ol’ Saint Nick to children in the county. Hess often did so without asking for pay and when did receive money for his appearances as Santa, he often donated the funds to charity.

A native of Oak Ridge, Tenn., Hess was a pipefitter and welder before settling in the Enon community of Pierce County about 25 years ago. He worked undercover for Atlanta area police departments before working in the profession locally.

He was affiliated with St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Waycross and was a member of the Georgia Peace Officers Association.

A celebration of life memorial service was held at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 19, from the chapel of Hart Funeral Home.

For a full obituary, please see page 3.