Cover photo for Doris Gem (Downey)  Dehnel's Obituary

Doris Gem (Downey) Dehnel

January 28, 1933 — January 11, 2024

San Angelo

Doris Gem (Downey) Dehnel

Doris Gem Dehnel (Downey) passed away on Thursday, January 11, 2024.

No services are scheduled at this time. Inurnment will be at a later date in Gouldbusk. Cremation and arrangements are under the direction of Robert Massie Funeral home.

Doris was born January 28, 1933 at home in Coleman County. She was the youngest of five children born to Patrick Wesley Downey and Fanny Fern Downey (Wilson).

Doris grew up on the family farm and attended school in Mozelle. After graduating in 1950, she enrolled in the Shannon West Texas Memorial Hospital School of Nursing in San Angelo, which included classes at San Angelo College (SAC). As a member of the college band, she met Robert Edward Lee Dehnel and they would marry on May 24, 1952 in the chapel at First Baptist Church.

Student nurses were not allowed to be married and thus she would not complete her nursing degree. She would be a housewife and travel with Robert as he worked in road construction around the state. Doris and Robert had 3 children, Robert Jr. "Eddie" born in San Angelo, Charlotte Diane born in El Paso, and Robin LeFern born in Amarillo. In 1970, they would settle in the Grape Creek community. She was a stay-at-home mom until the late 70's at which time she attained her CDL license and drove a school bus for Grape Creek ISD until she retired.

Doris learned a special recipe from Naomi Ditmore (which the family is forever grateful) for how to make "Aunt Doris' divinity". It was always made in large quantities for the Downey New Year family reunion every year in Coleman for over 3 decades. Friends and family were also gifted with its deliciousness.

In April 2004, she earned the title "Mamaw" when her only grandchild, Berit Calais was born and would spend her time doting on her.

Doris is survived by her husband Robert; her son, Eddie; her daughter, Robin and son-in-law Michael Smith; granddaughter, Berit Smith, two sisters-in-law, one brother-in-law, 13 nieces, and 14 nephews.

Doris is preceded in death by her parents, Patrick and Fanny; her brothers and their spouses, Malcolm (Zelma), Glynn (Sing), Sherwood (Jean), and sister, Patsy (Billy), daughter, Charlotte, 6 brothers-in-law, one sister-in-law, six nephews, and one niece.

The family would like to thank all those who assisted Doris in the last year of her life: the Shannon nurses, doctors, nurses aides too numerous to name, the wonderful staff at Regency House, the compassionate nurses and staff at Sagecrest and Hospice of San Angelo who made her comfortable until the end, and the employees of Robert Massie Funeral Home.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Doris Gem (Downey) Dehnel, please visit our flower store.


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