It was a Christmas tragedy in Iowa as a husband and wife, who have been playing Santa and Mrs. Claus for the past 15 years, were involved in a fatal accident while returning from spreading holiday joy.
Jack and Joyce Daniels were driving home Saturday after seeing children in their community as the Clauses when their car lost control and landed upside down in a ditch, killing Joyce and leaving Jack severely injured, according to police.
The area's icy conditions contributed to the crash, but friends say that wouldn't stop the couple from brightening up the faces of kids.
“A short drive of 16 miles would not keep them from the children that loved seeing Santa and Mrs. Claus,” Katie Beghtel, a family friend, told InsideEdition.com. “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.”
The couple was still in their Christmas gear when the accident happened.
Jack is reportedly in the hospital; recovering from a broken shoulder blade and collarbone, among other injuries.
“Jack and Joyce loved the children,” said Beghtel. "He is the best Santa anyone could ever ask for. Joyce was the sweetest of all Mrs. Clauses. Children's eyes would light up when they saw them dressed as the Clauses.”
Jack reportedly walked in the hospital with a walker on Monday for the first time since the accident, but will be confined to a neck brace for a while.
As for Joyce, her memory will live on in the hearts of the community.
“She was a lovely woman and will be greatly missed by so many," said Beghtel. "She died a very happy woman. She died doing something that she loved so very much.”