The earthly life of Cicero H. Daniel, age 95, of Victoria ceased on January 27, 2013. He was born October 9, 1917 on a ranch at Stratton, near Cuero, DeWitt County, Texas, to Robert T. Daniel and Alfreda Borchers Daniel. When Cicero was 9 years old, the family moved to the old Rincon Ranch 35 miles northwest of Mission, which his father had leased in Hidalgo and Starr Counties. Cicero and his brother Guy were active in the ranching work. After graduating from Mission High School in 1935, he attended Texas A&I College in Kingsville, graduating with a Business Degree in 1940. He was working for Commercial Credit when he enlisted in the Army on October 4, 1941.
Cicero was assigned to the Army Field Artillery and did his artillery training at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma. He was selected to attend Officer Candidate School, commissioned 2nd Lieutenant on May 26, 1942 and assigned to the 88th Division. He became a 1st Lieutenant October 29, 1942, Captain on May 22, 1943 at Camp Gruber Oklahoma, and was later promoted to Major and Battery Commander 913th Field Artillery Battalion, 88th Infantry Division. After departing the shores of the USA, his unit landed at Casa Blanca, North Africa. In February 1944, after landing in Naples, he got his first combat action at Monte Cassino.
Daniel was in the 88th Infantry Division; the first selective Division of the Army to be committed to combat in WWII. The 88th was officially credited with liberating Rome and being the first American soldiers to enter Rome on June 4, 1944. He was one of a group of officers given a private audience and blessing by Pope Pius XII. He served 344 days in combat in the Italian Campaign with the 88th Artillery Division, 913th Field Artillery Battalion participating in the following Campaigns: Po Valley 4/5/45-5/8/45, North Apennines 9/10/44-4/4/45, Rome 3/44--6/44, Arno River 9/10/44 and all the way to the Swiss Border.
Major Daniel served as a Major as S-3 Operations Officer in charge of tactical operations and then became Battalion Commander, 913th Field Artillery Brigade. He was the commander of over 500 men. In December of 1944 he was promoted to Brigade Executive Officer. He received numerous citations including: Battalion commendations, Sept 5, 1944; Bronze Star Medal (for heroic achievement in action), Oct 30, 1944; Legion of Merit (for exceptionally meritorious service in combat) April 15, 1945; Oak Leaf Cluster to the Bronze Star (for heroic service in combat) May 2, 1945, three Bronze Service Stars and various campaign ribbons. He was held in high regard by his fellow servicemen, both enlisted and officers, and years later he and Mom heard from numerous of his men who recalled his kindness and concern for his soldiers. By the end of the war he had been promoted to Lt. Colonel. He was honorably discharged February 6, 1946 with separation of service on March 6, 1946.
Within two weeks of returning from overseas, after a long engagement Cicero married Mary Keller of Devine and Mission (where she was a high school teacher). They were married December 4, 1945 at Ft. Sam Houston Army Chapel, San Antonio, Texas, beginning a happy marriage of over 67 years. After a well-earned army leave, he returned to work at his former position as district manager of Commercial Credit in the Rio Grande Valley. In 1947 he became manager of Spikes Ford dealership in Mission, Texas.
In 1957 Cicero and Mary purchased the Lincoln-Mercury dealership in Brownsville, Texas. For three consecutive during the years he owned the dealership, Daniel Motor Company received Ford Motor Company's highest honor, the President's Award. The award acknowledged the Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealerships that led the nation in exceptional service and vehicle ownership experiences for their customers. The award is given annually to an elite group of dealers; only 416 out of nearly 5,000 dealerships.
Mary and Cicero lived in Brownsville from 1957 to 1987, selling the dealership in September 1984. During his years in Brownsville, Cicero was active in the community, as a member of the Chamber of Commerce, Lions Club, Association of Brownsville New Car Dealers (serving as president), St. Joseph Academy Advisory Board (serving as co-chairman with his wife), and was an Active Adult Councilman. He also served for 13 years on the Troop 3 Committee for the Boy Scouts of America including serving with his wife as transportation chairman. Cicero and Mary attended Sacred Heart and St. Mary's Catholic Churches while residing in Brownsville.
In 1987 Cicero and Mary returned to his first love of ranching in Lavaca County. He was a member of the Cattleman Association and a member of Holy Family Church in Victoria.
To know Cicero as a human being was an experience to treasure-his style of life exemplified love, kindness, patience, humility and gentleness. Cicero was always recognized by all who knew him as a very loyal and loving husband, father, grandfather (who was affectionately called "Dad-Dad"), great-grandfather, and friend. He was always eager to help others any way he could. His family and friends remember him as one who could bring people together. He engendered trust. He was indeed a gentleman and a truly gentle man. Cicero leaves a rich and eloquent legacy-the best measure, the love of his family and the number of people who called him friend. That's the kind of legacy we should all aspire to leave.
He is survived by his wife, Mary Keller Daniel of Victoria, and by three sons, William H. Daniel and wife Jane of Austin; Dr. Charles P. Daniel and wife Melissa of Victoria; and James R. Daniel and wife Marilyn of El Lago; by seven grandchildren, Ellen Daniel Williamson and husband Kevin of Irving; Dr. David W. Daniel of Chattanooga, TN; Mary Blake Daniel Vint and husband James of Lubbock; Dr. Meredith Daniel Traber and husband Michael of Katy; Paul A. Daniel of College Station; Mark C. Daniel of El Lago, and Julia R. Daniel of El Lago; a great grandson, Daniel S. Williamson with a second great grandchild expected in early February.
He is survived by one brother Robert T. Daniel and wife Paula of Cypress, one sister Betty Jean Daniel Dondlinger of Mission, and many nieces, nephews and cousins. He is preceded in death by his parents Robert T. Daniel and Alfreda Borchers Daniel of Mission; brothers Sidney R. Daniel of Cuero, Guy S. Daniel of New Orleans and Yoakum, sisters Margurite Daniel Jenkins of Mission and Houston, Roberta T. Daniel of Mission, Dorothy Ann Daniel McAfee of Plano and Seattle, WA, and Mae Daniel Jones, of Dallas.
Pallbearers: Dr. David Daniel, Paul Daniel, Mark Daniel, Kevin Williamson, James Vint, Michael Traber, Richard Dondlinger.
Honorary Pallbearers: Uncle Cicero's numerous nephews and great nephews, nephews-in-law, and great nephews-in-law.
In memory of Cicero H. Daniel contributions may be made to the charity of your choice, to Hospice of South Texas, or to Holy Family Church.
Rosary services will be on February 1, 2013 at 5:30 pm at Colonial Funeral Home at 1801 Red River in Victoria, followed by visitation starting at 6 pm. Funeral Mass will be at Holy Family Catholic Church on February 2, 2013 at 10 am followed by the Rite of Christian Burial at Memorial Park Cemetery, with full military honors.