Charlotte Daily rides to glory on a float

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Charlotte Daily's last parade Charlotte Daily's casket rides on a float WEST CAPE MAY — Charlotte Daily, 83, whose list of names included “Parade Lady,” was buried Tuesday in a mummer costume and carried to her final resting spot on a float, escorted by the West Cape May Volunteer Fire Company.

West Cape May Mayor Pam Kaithern worked closely with Daily in recently years, putting down on paper a lot of the parade information Daily had committed to memory. Speaking at Daily’s funeral at the First Assembly of God Church on Seashore Road, Kaithern called Daily a “great lady,” saying she was known by many names, but Kaithern mainly knew her as “friend.”

Kaithern said Daily, a municipal clerk in West Cape May for 21 years, was dedicated to her community and created a West Cape May Community Christmas Parade that was “unparalleled.” She said Daily’s self motivation led to the success of the parade.

“Her tenacity and determination are legend,” Kaithern said. “You could count on her to get things done in her own way, in her own time.

“Somehow, some way, on the first Saturday of December, a parade happened,” Kaithern said.

Daily started a Christmas parade in her hometown of West Cape May after a Christmas parade in Sea Isle City was cancelled with no make-up date. Kaithern quoted Daily saying, “I will have my own parade in my own town.”

Kaithern said Daily was very hands on, even raising her hand as she stepped in front of a fire truck because the driver was not listening to her instructions. She posted generations of family members along the parade route to keep it moving and reduce gaps. Kaithern said Daily banned throwing candy from the floats to keep children safe, and said her greatest joy was to sit on the edge of the judges’ stand and watch the parade come together.

Daily’s daughter, Vicky Kelly-Kuhn, also recounted some of her mother’s many names – Lotty, Parade Lady, Mom Mom Daily, and others. She described her mother as very patriotic and self-determined, a perfectionist, but also very humble.

“She would get praises and awards and say ‘What is this all about?’” Kelly-Kuhn said. “She never saw herself as we saw her.”

She said her mother was very artistic, making all the banners used for the parade. She was also an excellent seamstress who taught sewing to kids in the 4-H program, another of her passions.

Kelly-Kuhn said Daily also sewed clown costumes for the parade. She taught her own daughters to sew, and would make them take out a hem and redo it if she thought it wasn’t done right.

She said Daily was unstoppable when she determined to do something.

“Don’t tell her to give up or it can’t be done,” she said.

Kelly-Kuhn said for years before the flag pole at Wilbraham Park was illuminated at night, the Daily kids would raise the flag in the morning and lower it in the evening. She said one morning when her brother Bud had put the flag up in a hurry, Daily started getting calls telling her the flag was flying upside-down.

Kelly-Kuhn said Daily was not a “committee person,” preferring to do things herself.

“If I do it I know it will get done…and done right,” her mother said.

“She hated waiting to get approvals,” Kelly-Kuhn said.

Daily’s faith was very important to her, and she passed along her faith to her children. Her pastor, the Rev. Michael Austin, said Daily shared her faith with thousands over the years while working with people on the parade. He said he had just recently learned Daily grew up an only child, but she made sure her own children shared her faith, patriotism, and love of community.

He said Daily had an opportunity to leave West Cape May to work in another community for more money. Austin said when her children asked her why she didn’t take the job, she said, “The community I grew up in needs me.”

Daily’s casket was decorated with patriotic symbols, her name and most well-known moniker, “The Parade Lady.” West Cape May firefighters acted as pall bearers, placing her casket on a float, and signs indicating Daily’s work in the community and past reign as “Lima Bean Queen.”

Cape May police stopped traffic to allow her funeral procession to make one last parade down the familiar route — going down Broadway, turning on W. Perry at Wilbraham Park, going past the judging stand area and making its way into Cape May before heading to the Cold Spring Cemetery, where Daily’s body was laid to rest.


Related: 

Charlotte Daily honored for work on West Cape parade

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