The last thing Joyce Daniels did before she died was spread Christmas cheer dressed as Mrs. Claus.
She and her husband, Jack, both 79 and longtime residents of St. Charles, Iowa, had played Santa and Mrs. Claus for 15 years.
On their way home from a Santa event at a bank in Winterset on Saturday morning, their car slid off the road outside of the town and landed upside-down in a ditch.
Joyce died. Jack was severely injured, according to The Des Moines Register.
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They were still dressed as Santa and Mrs. Claus when it happened.
Madison County Sheriff’s Deputy Don Kinney described the roads as “terrible” that day.
The husband and wife were known to brave winter weather to see children at Christmas.
“A few weeks ago, it was cold out, but they went and they saw 148 kids,” Claude Daniels, younger brother to Jack, told the Register.
A short drive of 16 miles “would not keep them from the children that loved seeing Santa and Mrs. Claus,” family friend Katie Beghtel told Inside Edition.
“They had spent the morning with the children in the community and then set off to come home to get spend the rest of their day with family.
“She was a lovely woman and will be greatly missed by so many. She died a very happy woman. She died doing something that she loved so very much.”
Neighbors said the loss was felt more keenly coming just days before Christmas. The couple had five children and a large extended family, longtime neighbor Jerry McDonald told the Register.
He said Joyce had been a stay-at-home mom, and Jack is retired from a Des Moines printing company.
Jack remains in the hospital with a broken shoulder blade and collarbone, and other injuries. On Monday he walked with a walker for first time since the accident, according to Inside Edition.