Irma Day disembarked from the American Countess Saturday afternoon to learn she’d be honored by the Henderson Tourist Commission as “Queen for the Day.”
After a short shuttle from the boat docks at 3rd and Water streets, Day was surrounded by family at the tourist commission office and given a pink crown bearing her day’s title.
It was a homecoming for the 96-year-old Day. Born in 1926 as Irma Stanley, she grew up in the eastern part of the county, between Henderson and Owensboro, she said.
She graduated from Spottsville High School and went to Western Kentucky University, where she met her future husband, Bill Day, who was a basketball player for the Hilltoppers.
They first lived in Lexington, but in 1961 moved to Florida, where Irma still lives today. The Clearwater resident said that before she would agree to move to Florida, she made her husband promise to bring their family home to Kentucky for Christmas every year.
So, Irma has kept a close watch on her home county and family here since she’s lived away.
She’s also been a part of history. In August 2022, she cut the ribbon to open the new Spottsville bridge. That’s not the first time she’s cut the ribbon over that span of the Green River, and it’s not the second, either. It was the third.
As a five-year-old in 1931, she cut the ribbon for the old Spottsville Bridge, when it first opened. Fourteen years later, there was some work done to the bridge, she said, and she cut the ribbon again when it re-opened.
According to Hannah Hudson, a relative who lives in Henderson, Irma is a spry nonagenarian. Family calls her the “Irmanator,” Hudson said, adding that she recently traveled with Irma to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
“She just keeps going,” Hudson said. “She can outdo any of us.”
Irma said she wanted to take the Ohio River cruise in part to see her birthplace, which is on land across the river from Newburgh. After visiting with family Saturday, she was planning to board the boat in the evening. When the boat gets to Newburgh, she said she’ll look over to the Kentucky side and watch it pass by.
“I’m going to see the land I was born on,” she said.