Harold “Elwyn” Deege
Harold "Elwyn" Deege, 94, of Liberty, died at 4 am, September 14, 2018, at Sunset Home. His daughter was with him. Elwyn was born in Quincy on May 28, 1924 to Harold Ivan Deege, a farmer and able mechanic, and Marie Kline Deege, a dedicated homemaker who had been a teacher. He attended Emerson School for one semester before his family moved to Liberty. After several years the family moved from "in town" Liberty to the Deege family farm, a move that Elwyn treasured as he was very close to his grandparents, Edward and Amanda Uhland Deege. The adjoining farm was owned by the Phillips family; Dorothy Lucille Phillips became first his friend and later his wife to whom he was married for over 68 years. Both families were multi-generational members of Zion Lutheran Church in Liberty.
Elwyn attended Liberty Grade and High Schools. He was active in FFA and band, raised hogs to earn money, and served as a substitute math teacher his senior year. Graduating as valedictorian in 1942, he began college at Western Illinois University training to become a math and science teacher. When Pearl Harbor was attacked, he and his father discussed what branch of service he should enter; upon choosing the Navy, he began his military service by studying at Illinois State University as a part of the V-12 Navy commissioned officer training. He was then selected to go to Midshipman's School at Notre Dame University. After Great Lakes training, Ensign Deege was assigned to the LST 973, a newly commissioned Landing Ship Tank. Positions held on the ship included Assistant First Lieutenant, Engineering Officer, and Ships Service Officer.
Before his ship left for the Pacific, Elwyn sent an engagement ring to his girlfriend, Dottie. He loved to talk about how many letters were exchanged between his Navy locations and her home on South 12th where she lived while attending Quincy College.
Upon returning home after the war, he remained in the Naval Reserve and was promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade. He was entitled to wear the American Theatre, Asiatic-Pacific Area, and Philippine Liberation ribbons as well as the WWII Victory Medal. He completed his teaching degree at WIU, and married his high school sweetheart on August 10, 1947.
The young couple moved to Wyoming, IL where they began productive teaching careers. The family took several car trips across the country and enjoyed learning about other communities, geography, and history. They particularly enjoyed visits with "Eddie" Paul Deege, Elwyn's brother and Dottie's very good friend. Both Elwyn and Dottie were active community members in Wyoming, IL. They served the Wyoming Methodist Church, and Elwyn was active in Lion's Club and extracurricular school events. He completed a master's degree at Bradley University in Peoria. He was a math and science teacher as well as principal in Wyoming, and then retired from Illinois Valley Central High School in Chillicothe where he served as a math teacher and department head for many years. His patience, dedication, and attitude of inclusiveness afforded many students an understanding of math and science they may not have achieved without his special gift for teaching.
In retirement Elwyn and Dottie were avid RVers and travelled with their travel trailer friends to many states. The couple moved back to their family farms in Liberty where Elwyn and Dottie continued to serve their hometown community and the Zion Lutheran Church. The couple was involved in conservation efforts and both were excellent stewards of their land owned by the Deege family since 1897 and the Phillips-Weisenburger family since 1858. Elwyn was a member of the Lion's Club, and participated in local blood drives and the Liberty Fall Festival. He also served as a long-time president of Xander Cemetery. He and Dottie were honored to have served as Grand Marshalls of the Liberty Fall Festival parade.
The most sincere and respectful gratitude is extended to the doctors, nurses, CNAs, therapists, chaplain and other employees at Sunset Home, SIU Center for Family Medicine, Blessing Hospital, Quincy Medical group, as well as other providers and staff too numerous to list.
Elwyn lovingly nurtured his adored wife during her last years. She preceded him in death in 2016. He is survived by his daughter and best friend Susan Deege, several cousins to whom he was close, and dear family friends who were loyal Sunset Home visitors. He and Dottie's dedication to their pets is legendary; over the decades hundreds of animals benefitted from their special care and several of their pets are still living.
Services will be at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 19 at Duker and Haugh.
Burial with military honors will be in Xander Cemetery, Liberty.
Visitation will be from 4 to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 18 at Duker and Haugh Funeral Home in Quincy.
Memorials can be made in Elwyn's honor to an educational or charitable organization of the donor's choice.
Sagamore Beach, MA
- Elwyn was thoughtful, kind and helpful. He will be greatly missed by those he's befriended over the years.
- The world is a lesser place without the presence of this man, some called Elwyn, he was Mr. Deege to me. Always a loving, caring soul who was respectful of all people. His eye always had a spark of curiosity and humor, along with a comment here or there. Few men or women will have left the legacy he created by the many lives he touched and the love he shared. In particular the exceptional daughter who inherited their dedication & hard working traits. Mr. Deege, you will be missed, but remembered with much love & respect.
Sincerely - Chris
Deborah and Dennis Powell
- Susan, we are so sorry for your loss. May God grant you comfort and peace during your time of loss and sorrow.