Connecticut’s Mr. Christmas Dies at 81

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When Mervin Whipple turned on the lights, people came by the thousands. He turned his Killingly home into a Christmas Wonderland, with lights and animations, and became known as Connecticut's Mr. Christmas.

He died on Saturday, Steve Farner, the director of the Gagnon Costello funeral home in Danielson, which is handling the funeral arrangements, said. He was 81.

Whipple's Christmas Wonderland opened in 1967 with a nativity scene and 225 lights as a tribute to his stepson Edmond, who died in an automobile accident.

Through the years, he added new animations and more lights.

When he closed the display on New Year's Day 2003, Whipple had approximately 112,000 lights and nearly 350 animations.

Whipple said he stopped putting up the lights because it was hard to find volunteers to maintain it, and he could no longer afford the $19,000 electric bill.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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