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Victoria Advocate
October 20, 2002

Cuero band director, Shiner teacher die in wreck

Shulenburg - A Cuero couple, the band director at Cuero Junior High School and a teacher at St. Ludmila Elementary School in Shiner, were killed and four people were injured in an accident in the rain at about 11 Saturday morning. Daniel Frels, 62, and his wife, Susan Frels, 59, were killed when their northbound 2001 Ford pickup hydroplaned on a rain-wet U.S. Highway 77, just less than a mile south of Schulenburg, and slid into the southbound lane where it ran into a 2000 Ford pickup driven by Ronald Schleede, 64, of Troy. The Frels' truck caught fire on impact.

Ronald Schleede and Juanita Schleede, 60, of Troy were both in critical condition at University Hospital in San Antonio on Saturday afternoon. A passenger in the Schleede truck, Corbin Schleede, was also in critical condition at University Hospital. A second passenger in the Schleede truck, Taylor Burke, 5, of Troy, was in stable condition at Lavaca Medical Center in Hallettsville.

Daniels Frels had retired from a career as band director with Cuero High School and his wife had retired after a career teaching second grade at Hunt Elementary in Cuero.

Patsy Kainer, Hunt Elementary counselor, knew both and said, "She was a neat girl and he was a good band guy - hard worker, good guy, and he loved his dominoes."

Cuero Junior High School Principal Greg Crockett said, "He retired as the high school band director a couple of years ago. Having education in his blood, he couldn't stay away from kids. Right after he retired, he started doing some substituting for us.

"This year, my junior high band director had a stroke, just last month, and Dan said he'd become my permanent substitute so the band program could continue," Crockett said. "I came to know him as a man of humor and strong character and he was dedicated to the field of education, He'll be truly, truly missed." Glynda Schulle has children in band and also taught with Susan Frels at Hunt. Schulle said, "I'm president of Band Parents. The kids loved him. My son is a senior in the band and they had marching contests in Victoria today. They were told as soon as they got through marching and the whole band was crying."

Of Susan Frels, Schulle said, "She was my child's second-grade teacher and an excellent teacher. I chose for my child to be in her class because she was known to be good and to have good discipline and to care. She was warm and friendly."

Kainer said, "Susan Frels taught second grade for a long time. Both of them were very dedicated educators and devoted to their two sons. She was at Hunt when I got there in '81 and I don't know how long she'd been there before. She was just really dedicated to teaching those little children and a great team worker and kind to everyone. She'll be missed. We still considered her part of the family."

Frels was teaching first-graders at St. Ludmila Elementary School, the elementary school associated with St. Paul High School.

"She was all excited and anxious about teaching first-graders after all those years teaching second-graders," Kainer said. The Frels are survived by sons, Jonathan Frels of College Station, and Matt Frels.

Services are pending with Freund Funeral Home in Cuero.

The wreck was investigated by Trooper 2 Jerry Harris of Texas Highway Patrol-LaGrange, assisted by Sgt. Larry Matthews, Sgt. Gary Chandler, Trooper Sergio Villarreal, and the Fayette County Sheriff's Office as well as Schulenburg police and fire departments.

The Frelses were pronounced dead at the scene at 10:52 a.m. at the scene by Fayette County Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Dan Mueller.

Posted by Matt Cross

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