Daisy Bethea Chamness Proctor grew up in Bennettsville, South Carolina. She graduated from high school in 1936 and then earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education from the Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina (now the University of North Carolina at Greensboro) in 1940. Her first job was teaching science and coaching basketball in Loris, South Carolina. After one year in Loris, Proctor taught general science in Rock Hill, South Carolina, for two years.
In 1943, Proctor joined the American Red Cross. She had training at American University in Washington, D.C., and was then stationed at Hammer Field in Fresno, California. In 1945, she went to Kearns, Utah, where she stayed for only a short time before being transferred to a naval station in San Leandro, California. Her last station was in Bremerton, Washington, and she left the Red Cross in 1946.
Daisy Proctor married Richard Proctor, a navy officer she met in Bremerton, in 1948. They lived in Chicago, Illinois, for a year, while he was in the navy, and she worked for the volunteer Red Cross. After moving to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, they both worked at Graylyn Hospital, where he was a psychiatrist and she did recreation. The couple had two children.