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Joseph Hoge Derrough


1924 - 2017 Obituary Condolences Flowers
Joseph Hoge Derrough Passed away peacefully on January 5. He was born in Chicago, IL on January 26, 1924. Son of Joseph Fifer Derrough and Helen Hoge Derrough, he was the youngest of two children. After his father died tragically in 1931, his family relocated to Los Angeles in the midst of the Great Depression, living with his maternal grandparents. He was an avid stamp collector as a young boy and developed into an athletic young man with keen interest in all things mechanical, especially ones with fast engines. He regularly worked on cars and motorcycles with his friends as his primary hobby and eventually owned a Model A Ford which he rebuilt and was clocked at over 115 miles per hour at the famous salt flats outside of Los Angeles. After Pearl Harbor, not waiting for the draft, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy in mid 1942 after graduating high school and went through boot camp in San Diego. After boot camp he entered torpedo school and would thereafter join what would become the world-famous "mosquito fleet" of wooden Patrol Torpedo Boats providing the main line of U.S. engagement with Japanese naval forces in the South Pacific at the beginning of the War while America rebuilt her large-sized ship Navy. He served primarily on PT 117 and PT 61 and would achieve the rank of Chief Petty Officer. Serving with several different MTB (motor torpedo boat) squadrons (including the same squadron as John F. Kennedy and his PT 109), he was engaged in numerous battles, including the infamous one which destroyed his first boat, PT 117. He also was engaged in secret anti-rebel activity in the Philippines post war and served until 1948, when he was honorably discharged. He earned the Asiatic-Pacific Theater ribbon with four bronze battle stars, the American Theater Campaign ribbon, the Philippine Liberation ribbon, Good Conduct medal and WWII Victory medal. Post war, Joe became interested in motorcycles and continued his love of the sea, becoming a commercial tuna fisherman in several Southern California ports. He eventually decided to try his hand at carpentry and became a journeyman carpenter of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners. He was an active union carpenter for over 30 years. He also served his union in various volunteer roles including sitting on the Apprenticeship Committee, the Advancement Committee, the Health and Welfare Committee and as Recording Secretary. He was also a business agent for Local 35 for two years. He retired from the Carpenters with full pension benefits. He had two sons from his brief first marriage: Michael and David. Joe met Graciela Yllescas, the love of his life, on a blind date arranged by their mutual butcher and the rest was history. They married on July 27, 1956 in San Francisco and were married for almost 60 years until Grace passed away in 2015. They had two boys of their own, Joseph and William. Joe was always charitable, making financial donations to many organizations over the years, even when money was extremely tight, and volunteering his time. He stepped into the void and become the Cub Scout Pack Leader when no other father was available, and led the Cup Pack for two years. In that role he led the way in the Cub Scouts welcoming scouts with learning disabilities. In his later days, he volunteered his time with the St. Vincent de Paul Society which helps the less fortunate in the community with food, rent and other assistance. Joe was known as an extremely strong and hard-working man, a very dedicated father and a loyal and loving husband. He and Grace traveled to dozens of countries in the last thirty years of their lives including many cruise trips. Of all their travels, he spoke most fondly of Ireland and Italy: Ireland because he felt home and Italy because he loved the food and architecture. He was a lover of all God's creation including the beauty of the natural world, especially the mountains and the sea and he truly loved all animals. He was also a lover of the arts, especially musical dance shows by Rogers and Hammerstein or starring Gene Kelly, the symphony, poetry and literature. A little known fact is that he could play the accordion, the ukulele and the harmonica; he was known to pick up the harmonica and play "Oh, Susannah!" well into his 90s. He was the devoted husband to Graciela Derrough, loving father of Michael Moon, David Moon, Joseph F. Derrough and William Q. Derrough, loving father-in-law to Denise Moon, Debbie Moon, Katya Derrough and Alvaro Derrough-Salas, loving grandfather to Monet Moon, Dayna Moon, Dustin Moon, Michelle Moon, Katherine Derrough, Alexander Derrough, Joseph Derrough-Salas and John Paul Derrough-Salas. He was a devoted sister to Rosemary Derrough Seal who predeceased him. Joe was a true patriot who was proud of his military service but never bragged about it or told "war stories". He was also proud that he was able to support his family doing what he believed was good, honest work. He was famous in the family for being able to fix literally anything and took great pride in the fact that he single-handedly refurbished the family home over the years and did all the repairs on his cars, including changing engines. He survived cancer four different times and always maintained a positive attitude. He simply kept trying; giving up was not in his vocabulary. He is survived by his four sons, his three daughters-in-law and one son-in-law and his eight grandchildren, a brother in-law and two sisters-in-law, and many, many nephews and nieces. A visitation will be held at Keaton's Redwood Chapel in Novato on Tuesday, January 9 at 4:30 PM followed immediately by a Rosary Vigil at 6 PM. The Funeral Mass will be held at Our Lady of Loretto Church in Novato on Wednesday, January 10 at 11 AM followed by burial at valley Memorial Park in Novato. The family welcomes all of Joe's friends to all of these events as well as a reception at the reception hall at Valley Memorial Park immediately after the burial. Donations should be made in the memory of Joseph H. Derrough to the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Our Lady of Loretto Church and the Marin Humane Society.
Published in Marin Independent Journal on Jan. 10, 2017
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