Every afternoon, Fred Danenberg and Michael Myers drove out to Tuttle Creek for a leisurely retirement afternoon pursuit —watching people fish, swim, or camp, and visiting with them.
They had done it together for years. But Tuesday afternoon, as Danenberg pulled his 2001 Toyota out onto Tuttle Creek Boulevard, he either failed to see or mis-gauged the speed of a Freightliner semi-trailer truck approaching from the city. In the resulting crash, shortly before 4 p.m., both men were killed.
Danenberg, who established and for many years ran Danenberg’s Holiday Jewelers on Poyntz Avenue, was 90 years old. Myers, a former farmer and auto dealer in the Marysville area, was 85.
The driver of the truck, identified by authorities as Christian Rodriguez, 23, of Wichita, was not injured. The accident closed the highway for about two hours while emergency workers investigated the scene.
The two victims were long-time acquaintances who had made the daily trips to Tuttle part of an active retirement lifestyle. A World War II pilot, Fred Danenberg had established his jewelry shop in the mid 1960s, but sold the business to his son, Mike, when he turned 62 in 1985 and moved on to new pursuits. “I still remember him telling me, ‘when you come in the front door, I’m going out the back door,’” Mike Danenberg recalled Wednesday morning. “That’s what he did.”
Beyond leaving two persons dead, the crash ended one of the most enduring marital relationships the community has seen. Fred and Catherine Danenberg had maintained an active life together for more than 66 years, taking part in numerous community and church activities.
Catherine and Mike Danenberg are among several members of both families who survive. The Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home is in charge of funeral arrangements for both victims, with details and full obituary information to be announced later.