Novelist and Branson resident Janet Dailey died at her home Saturday unexpectedly after a series of operations, according family members. She was 69 years old.
Dailey published her first book in 1976 and penned approximately 100 books since, according to her website and agent. Her novels have sold more than 325 million copies across 89 counties and have been translated in 19 languages.
“My brother and I, we were very blessed in the step-mother and step-father capacity,” said Linda Scheibe, Dailey’s step-daughter. “She always treated us like her own.”
Mary Dailey, who is married to Janet Dailey's step-son Jim Dailey, described her as “a really loving, considerate, generous person.”
Dailey was born in Storm Lake, Iowa, on May 21, 1944. She met her husband, Bill Dailey, while employed by his company and the two moved to Branson in 1978.
Bill Dailey was the first to suggest she start writing, according to family members.
“Just about everything they did, they did as a team,” said Don Ingrum, the couples lawyer. “They really worked well together. Bill would wake her up at 4 o’clock in the morning and she couldn’t quit writing until she had a certain number of pages done. That’s the way it worked.”
“She appreciated that because she said, ‘I wouldn’t have done it otherwise. It would have just stayed in my head.’” Scheibe added.
The couple was involved in a number of business ventures in the Tri-Lakes Area ranging from theaters to the Ye Olde English Inn in Hollister, a venture in line with her interest in history, Scheibe said.
Dailey is known for her romance novels that accurately capture the place and times in which her stories are set. She is a New York Times Best Selling Author and wrote a book based in each of the 50 states as a part of the “Americana Series.”
“Certainly it was unprecedented,” said Dailey’s long-time agent Richard Curtis. “No one had ever done that and I’m not sure anyone has done that since.
“I thought of her as heroic as any one of her characters. I admired her as a person and she was professional and cheerful right up to the last.”
Visitation services are scheduled for 6-8 p.m., Dec. 18, and at 9 a.m. Dec. 19, at the Williams Memorial Chapel at C of O. The funeral service will begin at 10 a.m. Dec. 19, following the second visitation.
“There was never a dull moment in the Dailey family,” Mary Dailey said. “There was something always going on, always an adventure. When it wasn’t all business, we all, as a family, went on some really, really fun trips together. Those were really great memories for all of us.”
“She’s with my dad now and he’s probably saying, ‘Jan, get me my coffee,’” Scheibe said. “Anyone who knew them, I think, would like that. He never could get his own."