Dorothy Lucille Phillips Deege
Dorothy Lucille Phillips Deege, 93, of Liberty, passed away peacefully at Sunset Home on July 3, 2016. Her husband, Elwyn, was at her side.
Dottie was born in Quincy on April 20, 1923, to Dr. Harlan John and Bertha Weisenberger Phillips. Dottie and her parents moved to her maternal grandmother's family farm when she was five. This was a place that Dottie cherished throughout her life, and a dream was fulfilled when she and her husband moved to that farm after retirement. Her family ties to that land date back to 1858. Born to older parents, Dottie brightened her parents' lives during the difficult depression years. Her love of animals, flowers, and learning was nurtured at an early age. She had special pets as a young girl on the farm, including Baby, a sheep, Pet, a horse, and Tootsie, a long-lived dog.
Dottie briefly attended kindergarten in Quincy, then completed grade school at Siegel School, a one-room schoolhouse near her home. She completed her first year of high school in Quincy, then returned to Liberty where she was a proud member of the Class of 1941, the first group graduating from the new Liberty school building.
Dottie attended Quincy College for two years, earning her K-12 certification in 1943. She first taught in one room schoolhouses in rural Adams County, including Franklin School for two years. The closeness of the families, students, and the teacher at these small schools was very special to her.
After he returned from serving as a naval officer on LST 973, and completing his bachelor's degree in education at WIU, Dottie's neighbor and high school sweetheart, Elwyn Deege became Dottie's beloved husband for over 68 years. They were married in August 1947 at the Liberty Zion Lutheran Church and visited Yellowstone National Park during their wedding trip. The young couple moved to Wyoming, Illinois where they both began productive teaching careers. She stayed at home for several years after her daughter, Susan, was born. She returned to teaching full-time, and particularly enjoyed her years teaching alongside her dear friend, Cleta Riggins. She taught at Wyoming Grade School for more than twenty five years, and had a special place in her heart for her students there, particularly Craig Holmes.
Dottie returned to Bradley University to complete her bachelor's degree in 1973. She completed her master's degree from Illinois State University in 1980. She was a creative and engaged teacher that wanted all of her students to learn and to love learning.
Dorothy, Elwyn and Susan traveled a great deal, including many visits to Edward Deege (Dottie's brother-in law) in New York City. The family visited many historic sites, as well as spending many summers boating at the Lake of the Ozarks. After retirement, Dottie and Elwyn began a wonderful period of travel. They joined RV travel clubs and saw much of the country, including memorable trips to Florida, Oregon, California, the Iowa State Fair, several southern states, and to a national Carriage RV convention in Pennsylvania.
Dottie loved flowers and always created beautiful yards. She cherished perennials that originally were her mother's and grandmother's. Proud of her gardening skills, Dottie loved sitting down to a meal that featured food that she had grown. She was a great cook and homemaker, and always honored antiques and traditions from her family as well as Elwyn's. Always an advocate for protecting farmland, Dottie served on the Adams-Pike R, C & D Board for many years.
Her love of animals is legendary. Many friends have remarked that life as a "Deege animal" was something special. Dottie was a wonderful wife, mother, and teacher. She was accomplished in many ways, and her storytelling and her use of language were charming. Dottie was very witty and had a unique sense of humor. She will be missed. Her life will be celebrated by many, especially by her husband and daughter.
Dottie is survived by her husband of 68 years, Elwyn, her daughter, Susan, and her nephew, Terry Melone of Huntington, Indiana. She was predeceased in death by her parents, and her older sister, Marjorie Phillips Melone.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorials be given to animal welfare, educational, or agricultural organizations in Dottie's memory, particularly to groups that might be struggling financially. Dottie admired people and organizations overcoming obstacles.
The family extends their thanks for the kindnesses and support of Sunset Home, Blessing Home Health Care, Quincy Family Practice, the Freys, the Schmidts, and special caregivers, Pam and Don.
Funeral services will be held on Thursday, July 7, 2016 at 10:00 AM in the Duker & Haugh Funeral Home. Interment in Xander Cemetery in Liberty, IL. Visitation will be held at the Duker & Haugh Funeral Home in Quincy on Wednesday evening from 4-6 PM.
Angela (Angie) Alexander
Prospect Heights, IL
- My Dear Susan, there are no adequate words to express my heartfelt sorrow at the recent loss of your mother. It is my prayer that God will console and comfort you, today and all the days ahead, in ways only He can and will.
Sagamore Beach, MA
- Susan -very sorry to hear of the passing of your mother. I know she will be missed by many that knew her.