Dorothy Louise Downs Schroeder “Deegee”


Dorothy Louise Downs Schroeder “Deegee”, 77 of Calera, Alabama, died November 5, 2021.  She was a lifelong resident of Calera, having moved there as a child when her father assumed his role at Central State Bank.  She was born November 2, 1944, in Birmingham to Elizabeth Parker Downs and Roy R. Downs, both of whom predeceased her.  Her brother, David Parker Downs and his wife Kay also preceded her.

Deegee, as she was affectionately known, graduated from Calera High School in 1962.  She was very popular and quite involved in all activities and school projects.  For example, she served as a cheerleader and a member of the band.  Deegee attended Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, for two years.  She then went to the University of Alabama from which she graduated.  It was at Alabama that she met William Milton Schroeder whom she married in 1965.

They settled in Calera where Deegee taught third grade and Bill began his banking career.  Their first child, Shane Downs Schroeder, was born in 1968.  He was followed by his sister Shanda Dee Schroeder and brother William Milton Schroeder (“Mitt”).  Deegee was quite proud that all three children were actively involved in the bank.

Deegee’s community activities included various civic and charitable causes having followed the excellent example of her father.  As chairman of the library board, she was instrumental in the building of the Roy Downs Memorial Library.  Deegee was an avid Crimson Tide fan, attending many games and being active in the alumni association.  Her church was very important to her and included playing the piano and organ as well as singing in the choir.  In recent years she placed her love and attention with Shiloh Methodist Church.

When Deegee’s father died in 1971 Deegee and Bill assumed much more active roles in the bank. She served as an officer of the bank and ran the family’s insurance business. After their children were grown and active in the bank, Bill and Deegee spent enjoyable times at their home in Sandestin, Florida.

In recent years Deegee’s health necessitated that she reduce her activities, but she always had time for her family, especially her grandchildren. She was an excellent cook and continued to prepare family meals when she could.  She crafted beautiful needlework and enjoyed solving crossword puzzles. She shopped for Christmas all year long.  She cherished her friendships not only close to home, but across the Southeast. One could have had no better friend than Deegee!

Deegee is survived by her husband, Bill; her son, Shane; her daughter, Shanda Watts and her husband Chad; and her son, Mitt and his wife Tatum.  Her grandchildren include, Alexis Schroeder, Natalie Schroeder, Blakley Watts, Bentley Watts, Cooper Watts, Will Schroeder, and Sara Tate Schroeder. She is also survived by her sisters-in-laws, Bonnie Downs and Jan Schroeder Grant (Warren).  She is also survived by nephews, Roy Dallas Downs, Dustin Parker Downs, Chris Peters, and Luke Hammond and niece, Liza Fauquher; great-nephews include, Dakota Downs, Memphis Downs, Liam Barrett, Livia Fauquher, Peyton Peters and Hollis Peters.

The family will receive friends on Tuesday evening from 5-7pm at Calera Baptist Church, 600 Whippoorwill Lane, in Calera. Deegee will be remembered and her life celebrated at 11:00 on Wednesday, November 10th at Calera Baptist Church. In Lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Calera Community Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 180, Calera, AL 35040 or your favorite charity.


  1. Wanda and Donnie Robinson on November 8, 2021 at 10:46 am

    To the family, Deegee was a beautiful soul with the sweetest heart. She will always remain one of my special friends and I so loved her. I will remember my years of working at CSB and closely with Deegee. Your family always has a special place in me and my families heart. ❤️

  2. Scotty Wells on November 8, 2021 at 11:16 am

    Mrs. Schroeder was such a wonderful person in so many ways. Calera will never forget her!!

  3. Dee and Neal Clements on November 8, 2021 at 12:49 pm

    So sorry to hear about Deegee. She truly was “one of a kind”! Deegee always made you feel like you were her best friend. I learned to never tell her about anything that I needed because she would make it happen. She was the most caring and loving person. We have been blessed because Deegee was a part of our life!!

  4. Kesa Merritte-Webb on November 8, 2021 at 1:25 pm

    I’ve always called you Aunt DeeDee my whole life and never knew your real first name, ill never forget holidays spent at you house and the friendships you and my parents had… ILL MISS YOU ALWAYS

  5. Brenda Grogan on November 8, 2021 at 7:22 pm

    Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the family. May God give you the comfort you need today and in the days to come. Love, Brenda Grogan, Michelle Griffin and Nick Griffin

  6. Mike Gothard on November 8, 2021 at 10:21 pm

    I am sorry for your loss. She was a great wife and mother. She will be greatly missed.

  7. Gwendolyn Davis a.k.a. Bonnie on November 9, 2021 at 12:16 am

    My deepest sympathy to you family. Deegee was like an aunt to me because she considered my Dad “Talmadge Merritte” her brother who did so much work around the bank and their home as well. They are celebrating in heaven. She will truly be missed and my memories of her will forever be cherished. I love you family!

  8. Leslie White Vinson on November 9, 2021 at 1:00 am

    My Sincere condolences to the Schroeder family. May the Lord continue to comfort you all during your time of bereavement .

  9. Amy Anderson on November 9, 2021 at 8:01 am

    Many fond memories of Deegee and the family she built with Bill.

    Remembering her and her wonderful spirit and celebrating how she touched so many lives.

    My heartfelt wishes for peace for her dear family and friends.

    Amy Anderson Rissler

    • Pat Smith Kovalchick on November 9, 2021 at 1:08 pm

      Dear Family,
      Deegee had a sweet soul and would help others any way she could. She could always make me smile. I know you all will miss her big time. Her family and friends are in my prayers.

  10. Susan Minor on November 9, 2021 at 8:05 am

    On behalf of the Minor family we send our sincere condolences. She was an amazing person and great friend. She helped so many people throughout the years. She will be missed.

  11. Jim Phillips and Shirley on November 9, 2021 at 10:54 am

    Rest in peace girl, you may be gone but not forgotten. Bill and Family, remember the good old day on 19th. St, playing cards, and raising our children together. Love to all the family.

  12. Diane Rachels on November 9, 2021 at 1:39 pm

    DeeGee always was so easy to talk to, she always
    had time to share for a bit of “small talk”. I’m sure each and every person working now or in the past at Central State Bank knew DeeGee had love in her heart for each of us because she told us so. Christmas, oh how she loved Christmas. She will be missed and I’m sorry to hear she has had some trying times. Precious soul. Praying for her family and work family.

  13. John Williams on November 9, 2021 at 2:36 pm

    I am so sorry to hear about Deegee. She was always such a caring, loving, and friendly person to my family when we went to church together. My condolences to Bill, Shane, Shanda, and Mitt.

  14. Sue Hope on November 9, 2021 at 10:17 pm

    I read this tonight “ Some souls leave behind a trail of light that is never forgotten” (author unknown). I immediately thought of Deegee. She was one special lady. I loved her and love her family more than they’ll ever know. I was blessed to know Deegee. The legacy she leaves behind is one of love for her family, community and her faith in God.
    Love you Deegee.

  15. Vienne Houck on November 11, 2021 at 9:22 am

    I am so heartbroken to hear of Deegee’s passing. I met this beautiful woman when I was a teenage college student lifeguard in Florida, trying to find my way after my father passed. Over the 4 or 5 years working on the beach & many a backgammon game, glasses of wine and dinners later she and Bill and the kids truly helped me understand I would always miss my father but could love others like family as well. Deegee I never ever forgot your warm heart and wished there could have been many more summers with you all.

  16. Jessica McCarty on November 22, 2021 at 2:22 pm

    Shanda and Shane and Family, I am so sorry to hear about the passing of your mother. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
    Jessica (Ford) McCarty