Joseph John Derro Jr.


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West Newbury, MA - Joseph J. Derro Jr., longtime resident of West Newbury, passed peacefully in his sleep at Prescott House in North Andover on July 7. He was the loving husband of Carol A. (Leary) Derro, who died in 2004.

He was born on August 8, 1928, in Winchester, Mass., to Joseph J. Derro and Concetta (Ferrina) Derro. He was born into a loving and large extended Italian family and, at the age of 17, enlisted in the United States Army, serving three years on active duty. He remained in the Army reserves for 20 years, achieving the rank of Major. He received a bachelor's degree from North Carolina State and a master's in Education from Salem State. In 1958 he began teaching biology at Pentucket Regional High School, where he met his future wife, a home economics teacher. He continued teaching two-plus generations of high school students at Pentucket for 36 years, and was a familiar figure at sporting events and school activities.

He and Carol married in 1963, and enjoyed 41 years of marriage together. He enjoyed the outdoors, and organized many family skiing and camping trips over the years. Summers were reserved for his family (his children thought all fathers had the summer off!) and there were weekly trips to the beach and local attractions. He was active in the community, serving as Parks and Recreation Commissioner in West Newbury. He was a faithful Catholic who was a parishioner at St. Ann Church. In retirement, he and Carol enjoyed spending time with their grandchildren, traveling to Hawaii, Aruba, Bermuda, the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Cape Cod, Maine, and to visit family in Texas and Georgia. His favorite activities included working on cars, doing home repairs, watching movies, and reading fiction as well as several newspapers a day. He continued to be very active and independent well into his 80s, still mowing the lawn with his tractor. His children often joked that since it took him several days to mow the lawn, by the time he was finished he would have to start all over again. For many years he attended pool exercise classes at Latitudes in Salisbury, and enjoyed going to monthly lunches with his classmates, whom he referred to affectionately as "the girls." He also worked as a teacher's assistant in the Special Education program at Nock Middle School, where he acted as a mentor to students.

He is survived by his five children, Anne Marie Sullivan and husband Michael of Amesbury, Linda P. Pumphrey and companion Dan Ducille of Middleboro, Michael J. Derro and wife Jami of Illinois, Stephen D. Derro of Merrimac, and Paul R. Derro and wife Kristen of Amesbury. He will be very much missed by grandchildren David and Carolyn Sullivan, Joseph and Benjamin Pumphrey, Alyssa Morici, Matthew and Ella Derro, Zoe and Isla Derro, Charlie and Asha Morfill, and Jackson and Ally Finch. He is also survived by one great-grandchild, Skylar Morici. In addition, he leaves a brother, Dr. Robert Derro and wife Lilo of Georgia; and a sister, Madeline Howard and husband Vin of Texas; and sister-in-law Mary C. Cullen of North Reading; as well as extended family and friends. He was a kind, generous man and we were truly blessed to have him in our lives.

The family wishes to thank the staff of Prescott House and Compassus Hospice for the exceptional care and loving support they provided to him.

Calling hours will be at the Paul C. Rogers Family Funeral Home, 2 Hillside Ave, Amesbury, on Wednesday, July 10, from 4 to 7 p.m. A funeral Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Ann Church, 300 Main Street, West Newbury, on Thursday, July 11, at 10 a.m., followed by burial in Bridge St. Cemetery.
Published on July 9, 2019
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7 posts

Marion DeMinico LoTurco
Jul 12, 2019
We shared many family gatherings growing up and my condolences to the all the family members.
Joanne (Howard) & Butch Graziosi
Jul 11, 2019
So sorry to hear of Joe's passing, he was a wonderful man that we had the pleasure of knowing for many years. We hope you have the peace of holding the great memories that I am sure you have made with your family. You are all in our thoughts and prayers.
Ann duCille
Jul 10, 2019
So sorry for the loss of a truly wonderful man, who is now at rest. Sending sympathy and love to the extended Derro family.
Brenda Grasso Rossi
Jul 09, 2019
My prayers to his family. Mr. Derro was my teacher at Pentucket, Mrs Derro was Miss Leary at the time our home ec. Teacher we all liked to think we brought them together, as we would bring him cookies and tell him they were sent from her. So sorry for your loss.
Rosemary (Howard) & Ron Wagner
Jul 09, 2019
Our deepest sympathy to all the family.. such a wonderful man.
Jul 09, 2019
My condolances to the Derro Family. Joe was a great friendly guy. I hope your wonderful memories sustain you during this difficult time.
Jim Moquin
Jul 09, 2019
So very Sorry for your loss.