MANATEE -- The Mount Vernon condominium community is mourning the death of Dorothy D. Schroeder, one of its most loved residents.
Schroeder, 91, died at 1:55 p.m. Wednesday in a traffic accident on Cortez Road near The Home Depot store, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Schroeder was a passenger in the 2004 Mercury Marquis driven by her husband, Dennis Joseph “Dane” Schroeder who hospitalized at Blake Medical Center in stable but guarded condition, close family friends said.
Dane Schroeder attempted to make a left turn into the parking lot of Home Depot on the north side of Cortez Road and entered into the path of a westbound Honda Pilot, an FHP report states.
Schroeder violated the Honda driver’s right of way, according to the FHP report.
Services for Dorothy Schroeder have been put on hold until her husband feels able to handle them, said Rowina Kennedy, a fellow Mount Vernon resident and Dorothy Schroeder’s best friend at the complex.
At the 434-unit Mount Vernon condo community, located off Cortez Road and 2.3 miles from Bradenton Beach, Schroeder was past president of the Garden Club and past president of the Steering Committee, Kennedy said.
Schroeder was from England and had come to the United States after World War II to marry a soldier from Iowa she had met, Kennedy said.
She had problems getting a visa to enter the United States and took it upon herself to write to then-President Harry Truman asking him to review her case, Kennedy related.
“This woman had chutzpah,” Kennedy said. “She was so smart and so plucky.”
Truman wrote her back and, nearly immediately, Schroeder was granted a visa and married her Iowa soldier, Kennedy said.
They had three children, Rob, April and Mavis, and the soldier died young of cancer, Kennedy said.
Schroeder then met Dennis Joseph Schroeder, who goes by Dane, and they were married 34 years, but had no children, Kennedy said.
Dane Schroeder had two sons before he married Dorothy, including Sarasota’s Dr. Kevin Schroeder who has a radiology practice in Bradenton and Jeff Schroeder, who lives in St. Petersburg, Kennedy said.
“They were having a new hot water tank installed and they needed a part and they went to Home Depot,” Kennedy said of the accident that claimed Dorothy’s life. “Oh my God, it was such a horrible shock for all of us when we found out. Dane and Dorothy are just such lovely people.”
“She was a sweetheart,” Stace Purdin, the administrative assistant at Mount Vernon, said of Schroeder. “She was very pleasant and outgoing.”
“What a classy lady,” said resident Evelyn Nelson, who runs the famous Mount Vernon rummage sale, which earns the community nearly $20,000 annually.
Dorothy Schroeder’s energy was one of the thing that made her remarkable, Kennedy said.
Every Tuesday, for many years, Schroeder and Kennedy went on a shopping trip to Sarasota.
“We would leave at 10:30 a.m. and come home at 4 p.m. and she would play bridge at 7 p.m. after that,” Kennedy said. “She was unbelievable. She was sharp as a tack, an avid reader and a killer bridge player with Dane.”
“She had a group of English girlfriends and she has a sister and brother in England,” Kennedy said. “She was a prolific card sender. But she was just prolific at everything she did.”
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-748-0411, ext. 6686.