Family, colleagues salute WFAA icon Vern Dailey at funeral



Posted on October 7, 2012 at 9:47 AM

Updated Sunday, Oct 7 at 6:25 PM

WILLS POINT — A veteran WFAA employee whose work delighted generations of North Texans was laid to rest on Sunday.

Vern Dailey was the voice and puppeteer for "Muffin the Bear" and other characters on Channel 8's "Peppermint Place" children's show. The program — which he also co-wrote and directed — aired for three decades, one of the longest-running local shows of its kind.

Dailey retired from WFAA in 1996 after 41 years, producing and directing a variety of other programs ranging from "Romper Room" to "Dialing for Dollars."

Friends, family members and colleagues packed a chapel in Wills Point Sunday afternoon to pay tribute to this TV pioneer.

Marissa Dailey shared a story she wrote for school about the person she admired most —  her grahdfather, Vern.

"One of the most enjoyable shows that he helped create was 'Mr. Peppermint,'" Marissa said. "'Mr. Peppermint' was a glorious show that had a lot of wonderful and colorful characters. My grandpa and grandma constructed the puppets at home."

Muffin was the most popular puppet Dailey helped create and bring to life, bringing enjoyment to countless thousands of viewers young and old.

The original Muffin was placed in the casket with Dailey and was buried with him.

A colleague shared that the funeral was filled with personal touches planned by Dailey himself — including the names of the 102 country songs he wrote that were placed on his coffin.

Services were set for 2 p.m. Sunday at Hiett's LyBrand Funeral Home at 1701 East Goodnight Boulevard in Wills Point.

Vernon Augustus Dailey died on Thursday. He was 83 years old.

He is survived by two sons, two daughters, 13 grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren.