Tony Mackey, who first got involved with the carnival more than 45 years ago when his daughter Angela became carnival queen, died on January 4.
Son-in-law Jose Santos Rosa, who is now married to Angela said: “We have lost a real gent.
“He was the man everyone looked up to and was so respected, he had a heart of gold.”
Tony lived on Shallcross Mill Road in the town, with wife June and their three daughters.
John Barnes, chair of the trustees for Whaley Bridge Carnival, has also paid tribute to the 87-year-old.
He said: “Tony was a massive part of Whaley Bridge Carnival and has been the president for many years. Previously he undertook many other roles within the committee.
“Without Tony’s involvement and dedication the carnival wouldn’t be going today.”
Tony also enjoyed a very special royal appointment one day, when Princess Diana visited the town.
Jose said: “It was all very hush hush beforehand but a posh car turned up and out stepped Princess Diana.
“Tony spent time talking to her and showing her the good work the carnival does for the community.”
He added: “He was the calmest person I have ever met.
“He never had a bad word to say about anyone and would give everyone his time freely.”
Tony was a wagon driver for Somersets and Tarmac before turning his hand to buildings maintenance prior to his retirement from Kenfab in Whaley Bridge.
He spent his National Service with the signal platoon of the Cheshire Regiment during which time he was posted in Egypt and Germany.
Tony had been ill for a long time with pancreatitis but Jose said he found the humour in life even on his dark days.
Jose said: “He wasn’t a rich man but he was a rich man with the family and friends he had and he will be really missed.”
Donations in Tony’s memory can be made via Bernard Kenney Funeral Service and will be split between the air ambulance charity and Guide Dogs for the Blind.