Margo Hess, who played the character of Mother Goose for over 30 years at Santa's Workshop, North Pole, NY passed away on Tuesday, December 6, 2011 at the age of 97. Born on February 23, 1914, Margo had a wonderful life as a professional singer and pianist, as a magician's assistant for her husband Larry Hess, and as a puppeteer, ventriloquist and entertainer.
Margo and her husband, originally from Barneveld near Utica, moved to Wilmington in the late 1960s to perform their magic show for audiences at Santa's Workshop. What was to be a temporary position quickly became permanent. They were asked to remain in Santa's employ and added their Punch and Judy puppet show to the roster of entertainment offered at the Workshop. Making many of their own magic tricks and puppets, they became very popular with children and adults alike.
Following Larry's death in 1975, Margo continued doing magic, but her skilled puppetry and polished professionalism soon led to a full-time position as Mother Goose. Her original adaptations of favorite nursery rhymes and poetry became part of the North Pole tradition and her once-portable show expanded and found a home in their puppet theatre. When show designers from California were hired to create new scripts and music for Santa's Workshop in the mid 1970s, they saw Mother Goose perform and added her show to their script. Over the years, Margo enjoyed training many young people in the art of puppetry and theatrical production.
Not long after becoming Mother Goose, Santa's Workshop introduced their Christmas Previews - in-residence Christmas weekends for families. Margo became the first hostess and entertainer, working with Santa and his elves for many wonderful years, bringing Christmas to people from all over the United States and Canada.
She loved her work at the Pole and decided to step down while she was still at the "top of her game," retiring at 84 years old. She moved to California to live with her son Jerry, a retired Marine Corps colonel, and his wife Sandy. California was a great place to be but she really missed New York's North Country winters and her beloved North Pole. Please-all Margo's North Pole Yuletide families and all who have ever called Santa's Workshop your home-know that you were dearly loved and missed. Her family hopes that you hold fond memories of her. You were always in her heart.
Margo's son Jerry passed away in April and she leaves behind her daughter-in-law, three grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, four step-grandchildren and seven step-great-grandchildren who thought it was pretty "cool" to have Mother Goose related to them! Her last years were filled with love and family and lots of activities, including portraying Mother Goose in parades and elsewhere. Rest in peace, Mother Goose, Mom, Grandmother, Great-Grandmother.