In 1964, the float built by Charlotte Warner Daily's 4-H Club won a $100 prize in the Sea Isle City, N.J., Christmas parade.
She wanted to enter it in a similar parade in Cape May, but the event was rained out.
"So she went to the mayor of West Cape May and asked if she could have a parade in West Cape May, where we lived," daughter Jeanette Urquhart said.
"He said, 'Yeah, as long as you don't use the taxpayers' money.' "
And so a decades-old tradition - the West Cape May Community Christmas Parade - was born.
On Wednesday, April 30, Mrs. Daily, 82, known as "the Parade Lady," died at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania of complications from a stroke.
"She was a homemaker at the time," her daughter said, and led the 4-H group called the Snappers. "We were about 10, 12, 13 years old."
Urquhart recalled that at the first parade, "we had - oh, my gosh - only two or three floats."
With one high school band and one fire truck, "it probably lasted 10 minutes, if it lasted that long."
Paid for with private donations, she said, the 2013 parade "lasted - I measure it from the reviewing stand - two to 21/2 hours" on the first Saturday in December.
These days, she said, "we could have five to seven string bands; we could have 10 high school bands."
Mrs. Daily, her daughter said, who year after year managed the parade, "was always about keeping Christ in Christmas. And that's what our parade was always about."
A 1949 graduate of Cape May High School, Mrs. Daily was borough clerk in West Cape May from 1970 until she retired in 1991.
Besides her daughter Jeanette, Mrs. Daily is survived by sons Homer and Bill, daughters Vicky Kelly-Kuhn and Becky Horton, 21 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren, and three great-great grandchildren. Her husband, Homer Sr., died in 1974.
A visitation was set from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, May 7, at the First Assembly of God Church, 1068 Seashore Rd., Cape May, before a 1 p.m. funeral service there, with interment in Cold Spring Cemetery, Lower Township.
Donations may be sent to the Charlotte Daily Fund, Sturdy Savings Bank, 701 Washington St., Cape May, N.J. 08204.
Condolences may be offered to the family at www.spilkerfuneralhome.comcast.net.