George Raymond Derr, Jr.,93 of Upper Boiceville Road died Monday January 11, 2016 at the Northern Dutchess Hospital in Rhinebeck. He was born on November 1, 1922, and grew up in the parsonage of Friendship Protestant Church with no electricity or indoor plumbing. His work ethic grew from his humble beginnings as George hand delivered mail from the mail train, grew corn and tomatoes, raised chickens, and cut grass. In a one-room school house he discovered knowledge and music, and studied violin.
Scouting expanded his world. George was a person who seized every opportunity to learn and experience life. Drafted into service in 1943, he was assigned to a Signal Battalion. After the service, he sold Encyclopedia Britannica and serviced vacuums. He availed himself of every course and workshop to expand his talent in technology and mechanics. In 1952, he began a thirty-two year career with IBM as Customer Engineer servicing computers. In retirement, he traveled with his wife Jean on over twenty vacations that combined study of genealogy, rafting adventures, and traveling with Elder Hostel to European countries and across the United States.
George served his community through his church, as a volunteer for fifty-three years to the Willingboro Volunteer Fire Department in New Jersey as driver, as a firefighter, as a fire policeman and serving in the offices of Treasurer, President, and Fire Commissioner. He was a Charter Member of the Willingboro Volunteer Fire Department and received an award for 50 years of continuous service in 2010 and he also served as a volunteer court mediator for the Burlington County Court System.
George was the son of a pastor, George Raymond Derr, Sr. and his wife Frances Estelle Mitchell. During World War II he married Jean Drysdale Hankin who died in 2007. One sister Ruth Glover (husband William) predeceased him. George leaves behind a sister, Bertha Schwantes (husband John), Woodstown, NJ; two daughters, April Jean Holdren (husband Robert), Mt. Juliet, TN; and Leslie Kim Lohrer (husband John "Bill") Boiceville, NY, their families and a son, Dennis George Derr, Kingston, NY. He is grandfather to Scott Holdren, Nashville, TN, and Daniel Holdren, Albany, NY, and Michael Lohrer (wife Lucy) Boiceville, NY, and great grandfather to Cameron Holdren, Nashville, TN; Zoey and Emily Lohrer, Boiceville, NY. He also leaves many nieces, nephews and their families and many friends.
He lived life as an enthusiastic participant. He worked hard, raised a fine family, learned something valuable every day, sang with a choir and blue grass band, shot pool, played ping pong (He was a Tennessee Senior Olympic Ping Pong Champion in 2014 [Gold Medal] and 2015 [Silver Medal]) until he could do no more. During the last 30 years he was involved with the Grace Presbyterian Church, Mt. Laurel, New Jersey; Cook's United Methodist Church, Mt. Juliet, Tennessee; and Reservoir United Methodist Church, Shokan, New York. He was given ninety-three years and he used and shared them well.
Funeral service will be held on Thursday, January 21st, 2016, at 11:00 a.m. at the Grace Presbyterian Church, 550 Union Mill Road, Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, with Pastor Gary Englestad officiating. Visitation for the family and friendswill be one hour before the service and the burial will follow at 1:00 p.m. at the Brigadier General William C. Doyle Memorial Cemetery, Wrightstown, NJ.
The family suggests memorial contributions may be made to one of his churches or the charity of your choice. Local funeral arrangements under the direction of the E. B. Gormley Funeral Home 87 Main St. Phoenicia. New Jersey funeral arrangements under the direction of Roedel-Kraus Funeral Home. You may share a condolence with the family on George's Memorial Page at www.gormleyfuneralhome.com