Stephen Forest Dailey (Steve) passed away peacefully on September 4, 2023, at his home in Lee’s Summit after a short battle with pancreatic cancer. He was born February 5, 1953, in Terre Haute, IN.
Steve grew up in Terre Haute where he met the love of his life, Diane (Pound) Dailey at 17. They married on April 27, 1973, and after spending a short time with the Indiana Highway Patrol, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, which brought them to west central Missouri and Whiteman A.F.B.
After serving his country for four years, Steve and Diane decided to make Missouri their home. They lived in Sedalia and Smithton for 25 years where he owned and ran a small convenience store aptly called Our Dailey Bread. Their time in Smithton came to a close when he and Diane migrated with their church and friends to the Kansas City area. Steve was a member of Revive Church (formerly Smithton Community Church and World Revival Church).
To many in the KC area, Steve was well known as the best Santa Claus they ever met, a role he considered a ministry. His prayer was that every person he touched he would impart a hunger for God, and if they were hungry for God, they’d get everything they needed. He was the Olathe Bass Pro Santa for many years, and he embodied the playful twinkle that many associate with Santa. He loved interacting with kids all year long, even when he wasn’t in character. He didn’t just pretend the part; he actually became Santa in the most delightful sense. He even owned and operated a small wooden toy shop at their home in Lee’s Summit.
To those who knew him best, Steve was a passionate follower of Jesus who did his best to love God and love others. He would often start to weep when asked to talk about Jesus.
Steve is survived by his wife Diane, son Paul (wife Amy) Dailey of Michigan, son Eric Dailey (grandson Cole) of Oklahoma, daughter Melissa Brendtro (husband Steve, granddaughter Adrienne, and grandson Addison) of Florida, and younger brother Roger (wife Robyn) of Indiana. He was preceded in death by his parents Ova Lee (Bud) and Mary Dailey and older brother Thurman Leo (Buddy) Dailey.
A visitation will be held Saturday, September 9 at 1pm at Longview Funeral Home & Cemetery in Kansas City with a memorial service immediately following at 2pm. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital at raise.stjude.org/stevedailey.