, Port Arthur, Texas

August 22, 2013

Dr. Winifred Lee Columbus - Frelow

The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR —    Dr. Winifred Lee Columbus-Frelow was born on March 11, 1949 to Wilbert and Maudry Columbus in Sacramento, California. The family moved to Port Arthur, Texas when she was two years old where she resided for the remainder of her life.

   Winnie graduated from Lincoln High School as co-salutatorian of the class of 1967 and went on to obtain a Bachelor of Education from Texas Southern University in 1972. 

   She became one of the first African American teachers at Thomas Jefferson High School and moved quickly through the ranks to become assistant principal of Thomas Jefferson High School for 10 years before moving on to become the principal of Stephen F. Austin High School.

   She continued to further her education by obtaining two Master’s Degrees and four educational certifications from Lamar University. She then returned to her old Alma Mater, Texas Southern University, where she received a doctorate of education in 1994. 

   In 1993, she was promoted to the position of Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction for the Port Arthur Independent School District where she retired in 2003 after approximately 30 years of service to the district.

   After a battle with breast cancer in 2001, she began a local Breast Cancer Education and Support Group - Winners for Life - with the support of Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Over the past 11 years, this organization has sponsored 11 annual seminars for the community, with the most recent seminar having approximately 200 attendees, and has raised over $35,000.00 to pay for mammograms for the uninsured and underinsured in the local community.

   Soon after retirement, Winnie began working with Universal Travel, in Beaumont, Texas in 2003 as a travel agent and later became a Disney and Cruise specialist. Winnie was later asked to work with the Ben’s Kids program. She mentored at-risk children who were in the juvenile justice system and worked to organize special programs to re-direct the children’s lives in a positive direction. Winnie dedicated herself to these children until she took a second retirement.

   Following her second retirement, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Winnie continued to work diligently to bring awareness to the community with her Winners For Life organization to which she was dedicated until death.

   Winnie was preceded in death by her mother, Maudry Duhon, her father, Wilbert Columbus and her stepmother, Doris Loeb Columbus. She leaves to rejoice in her life, her daughter, Tracey Young (Vashon) and her son, Carl McDaniel, Jr. (Tu); Three grandchildren, Hlevictor Hoskins, Jr., Torry Marshall, and Ashlien McDaniel; One sister, Willa Columbus-McDaniel (Glenn); two special aunts, Mildred Hayes (Elton) and Celestine Columbus and a special uncle, Albert Columbus and a host nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

   A special memorial tribute service for Dr. Frelow will be held on Friday, August 23, 2013 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm at Gabriel Funeral Home in Port Arthur, Texas.  Funeral services will be held at Sacred Heart Catholic Church on Saturday, August 24, 2013 at 2:30pm. Viewing will begin at 12:30 pm and a rosary at 1:30pm, just prior to the funeral services. Entombment will follow in Greenlawn Memorial Park under the direction of Gabriel Funeral Home.

   In lieu of flowers, family requests that donations be offered to one of the following two organizations:

1.) Pancreatic Cancer Action Network: Dr. Frelow’s children will walk in their December Lake Area walk in honor of their mother and in an effort to end the disease which claimed their mother’s life. You can support this cause by visiting:



2.) Winner for Life, PO Box 1664, Groves, TX 77619.