Douglas E. Schroeder, an amateur musician and former Baltimore bar owner, died of cancer Tuesday at his home in Parkton. He was 58.
Born in Baltimore, Mr. Schroeder attended Polytechnic Institute. As a teen-ager, he joined the St. Mary's of the Assumption Drum and Bugle Corps, learning to play the trombone and bugle.
Mr. Schroeder put his trombone talents to use after graduation when he and his brother formed a soul band, whose members also included the son of the late big band leader Emil "Zim" Zemarel. Later, he joined the Yankee Rebels Drum and Bugle Corps, with which he would occasionally perform during halftime at Baltimore Colts games.
Over the years, Mr. Schroeder held a variety of jobs, including selling medical equipment and running the Curley Inn, a neighborhood bar near Patterson Park he bought to fulfill a lifelong dream.
Relatives described him as a practical-minded, easygoing man who liked to build radio-controlled airplanes and model rockets with his children and their friends.
After spending months building one plane, he gathered everyone for its maiden flight. "It went straight up in the air and went straight down and smashed all over the parking lot," recalled his stepson, Christopher Rahl of Towson. Mr. Schroeder, he says, just laughed.
Moving to Parkton in 1986, the lifelong city resident also tried his hand at country life, growing vegetables and raising sheep, turkeys and goats.
But relatives say Mr. Schroeder's greatest passion was his wife, the former Karen Marquis, a nurse at the Maryland School for the Blind who was killed in 1992 when she was struck by a car during her morning bicycle ride.
Soon after her death, Mr. Schroeder left his job as a purchaser for Maryland National Bank. Although he worked briefly tending geraniums, marigolds and other flowers at John H. Radebaugh Inc., a Freeland wholesale grower that supplies area florists, relatives say his interest in work and his farm began to wane.
But to the end of his life, Mr. Schroeder never lost his sense of humor and practical ways, relatives say. When doctors first detected his cancer in April, it was in its advanced stages. The next day, Mr. Schroeder gathered his family together and said: "I don't want people crying about me. I've lived a good life. If you want to do anything, have a party."
A private party in his honor is being planned.
He is also survived by a son, David Schroeder of Baltimore; his mother, Margaret Parks-Witt of Catonsville; two brothers, Paul Schroeder and Richard Schroeder, both of Monkton; and two grandchildren.