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Couple in deadly crash well-known as Mr. and Mrs. Claus

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Santa MikeE

Couple in deadly crash well-known as Mr. and Mrs. Claus

The Des Moines Register
Kelly McGowan
December 20, 2016

EXCERPT:

DES MOINES — Jack and Joyce Daniels visited Farmers & Merchants State Bank Saturday morning in Winterset as part of the yearly rounds the couple, both 79, made dressed as Santa and Mrs. Claus.

 

Just a week before Christmas Eve, right after their morning of listening to children's Christmas wishes, wintry roads caused a car accident that killed Joyce and severely injured Jack.

The vehicle lost control, slipped off the road and rolled once before landing upside-down in a ditch around 11:30 a.m. CT Saturday on St. Charles Road about four miles outside of Winterset, according to the Iowa State Patrol and the Madison County Sheriff's Office.

The longtime St. Charles residents were well-known and liked by the whole town, said Larry Daniels, Jack's younger brother who lives in Des Moines. They'd been making visits as Santa and Mrs. Claus for at least 15 years, he said.

"They loved children and loved to make them happy," Larry Daniels said. "They'd give them small gifts, all out of their own pocket.”

He said Joyce was a generous person.

"Everybody was her friend. … She would do anything for anybody," he said.

Jack Daniels remains in the hospital, recovering from a broken shoulder blade and collarbone and other injuries, he said.

Jack's younger brother, Claude Daniels, said the couple would brave winter weather to bring joy to local children.

"A few weeks ago, it was cold out, but they went and they saw 148 kids," Claude Daniels said.

On Saturday, Jennie Hargrove of Winterset brought her baby daughter, Reba, to the bank.

“She was in awe,” Hargrove said. “She loved to see his beard and sit on his lap. She wasn’t afraid.”

That approachability came from the years of experience as the Claus couple, Hargrove said. Though Hargrove didn’t know the Danielses personally, she said she was sure Joyce’s legacy would live on.

“I hope that people remember that she spent the last hours of her life bringing joy to children,” Hargrove said. “It was a tragic ending, but she got to spend her last day doing something she loved.”

The sad situation was magnified by being right before Christmas, said Jerry McDonald, who has been the couple's neighbor in St. Charles for more than 50 years.

“They just were a couple that was always together," McDonald said. "They were always out in the community — didn’t have an enemy in the world."

The Danielses had five children and a large extended family, he said. Joyce had been a stay-at-home mom, and before retirement, Jack had worked at a printing company on Des Moines' east side, McDonald said.

"You couldn't ask for nicer neighbors … They would do anything they could for you," McDonald said.

Former St. Charles Mayor Joan Brown said the couple was more active in the Santa and Mrs. Claus roles than anyone else she has seen.

"Any place there were children who wanted to see Santa Claus, that’s where they’d be,” Brown said. “It’s really devastating.”

Madison County Sheriff's Deputy Don Kinney said the roads were "terrible" that day, and that the loss is now being felt throughout the community.

“They were very well-known for what they did (as) Santa and Mrs. Claus," Kinney said. "There were quite a few people who knew them. (Joyce) will be missed.”

SOURCE: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2016/12/20/deady-crash-mr-and-mrs-claus/95643094/

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SCSanta

Tragic. Prayers for all who knew and loved them, and healing in the times to come.

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Atlantic Santa

Praying for Jack and his family.

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SantaRickie

Prayers for Jack and the family and friends.

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Florida Kris Kringle

Very sad news. Jack and his family are in my thoughts and prayers.

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Eileen Strom

So sad.

My condolences to the family.

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Santa Johnathan

This breaks my heart. Rest in peace Mrs. Claus and comfort and healing to you Santa. 

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Niceville Santa

Prayers for all.

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lmurdoch

Rest In Peace. Prayers for Santa Jack and family

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Santa Bill Reiller

Prayers for Jack and his family.

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Santa Johnny Boy

Prayers to the family.

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Dr Santa Steve

Very sad. Prayers for the family.

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Santa Robin Z

So sad, my prayers to the family.

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