Vincent W. Suellau, a longtime resident of Manhasset, died peacefully at home on March 8, 1999. Mr. Suellau was born on July 14, 1903, the son of August H. and Gerda W. Suellau. He was predeceased by his wife, Theresa A. Suellau, and his daughter, Jacquelyn McEnerney. He is survived by his wife, Althea F. Suellau, his children, Patricia Jordan, and Virginia Glynn, and by 12 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren. Mr. Suellau was the retired president of the Industrial Chemical Division of Allied Chemical Corporation. Interment was at Holy Rood Cemetery.
Funeral services for Richard G. Koebele, principal of the Shelter Rock Elementary School for the past 17 years, was held on Friday, March 12, in Hicksville. Mr. Koebele died suddenly on Tuesday, March 9, at the age of 53.
St. Ignatius Loyola Catholic Church, where Mr. Koebele was confirmed as a teenager, was filled to standing -room only capacity with virtually the entire Shelter Rock staff, Central Office administrators, past superintendents and assistant superintendents, current school principals and many elementary and high school students and parents in attendance. In memory of Mr. Koebele, Shelter Rock School was closed on Friday. Flags at all district buildings are flying at half-mast during the week.
Interim Superintendent of Schools Dr. Elliot Garfinkel commented: "Richard was a dedicated educator whose leadership at Shelter Rock was highly valued by staff, students and parents. The outpouring of support by Shelter Rock's school community for his family and for each other demonstrates the very special bond that he nurtured through his leadership abilities."
Dr. Vincent Calluzzo, board of education president, added: "Richard Koebele was a kind, gentle man who was dedicated to his students, faculty and community. He had a strong impact on the thousands of children that he has known over the past three decades. A number of former students, who are not adults, have called the district expressing their condolences. We will miss his leadership."
Robyn Mandor, assistant principal at Shelter Rock, said: "There have been so many wonderful individual tributes to Richard from children, staff, friends, parents and members of the community. He never did anything halfway. He was a very special teacher, leader, friend and colleague. His dedication and commitment is a loss to all of us." Ms. Mandor said that planning is now being done by staff, children and family on a fitting memorial for Mr. Koebele. Information and details will be shared with the school community once these plans have been finalized.
Sandy Duggan, fourth grade teacher at Munsey Park School and longtime colleague of Mr. Koebele, commented: "Richard had a sixth sense when dealing with kids in classroom situations. If a student started off their day feeling uncertain or upset Richard could sense the child's need. Then using a positive and reassuring approach the student could have a successful day at school." She continued, saying, "Richard enjoyed doing class play productions. Most plays don't have enough cast members for a whole class to be engaged. He would make adaptations to enable every student to participate at some level of the production.Through his lead, many students soon realized they had untapped talents. They were designing stage sets, creating costumes and saw the necessity for dependence on each other and, working on interpersonal relationships, that would add to the success of the final production.
"Richard never saw the academic subjects as separate entities. He would always weave various curriculum area together enabling children to appreciate these correlations. Dr. Jean Kendall, principal of Munsey Park School, said: "As someone who worked with Richard Koebele for the past 12 years, I knew well his commitment and dedication to the children and the process of education, his striving to be on the cutting edge, and evolving in his positive relationships with new and experienced teachers, staff and parents. I knew Richard's wonderful sense of humor, his untiring support of me as his assistant and colleague and his loyalty as a friend. I remember many special times enjoying our work--writing the School of Excellence application together, going to Washington D. C. for the award, presenting trophies to classes for doing things right, participating in collegial circles, talking via teleconferences to plan professional development, taking our first computer classes and, most recently, learning how to use Distance Learning technology between Shelter Rock and Munsey Park. I smile when I remember Richard teasing me, as he often liked to do."
Michael Keany, principal of Manhasset High School, commented; "Richard and I knew each other for over 25 years. In many ways, our careers in Manhasset were parallel. We often shared the joys and frustrations of building administration. He was always a child-centered administrator who found happiness in the smile of a child and comfort when he could erase a student's tear. He was a dear friend who taught all of us about the great importance of helping a child. Certainly he will be remembered for his notable accomplishments in education but even more because of the mark he left on all our hearts."