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John Derck

December 21, 1918 September 7, 2020
John Derck
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Obituary for John Derck

John Henry Derck was born on December 21, 1918, the eighth child of Jerry and Sarah Derck, in a little farmhouse in Northumberland County, PA. When he was born, the doctor lifted him up and said, “He’s so scrawny, he’ll never make it!” How wrong he was! On Sept. 7, 2020, at 101 yrs., 8 ½ months, John went to be with the Lord, having lived a long and good life with a grateful heart for God’s loving favor across a lifetime.

On January 31, 1942, he married Ellen Kauffman, just one month before being drafted into WW II. He was proud to serve his country in the medical corps in the 29th division of the Army on the European front. He survived D+1 at Normandy. Ellen wrote to him faithfully every day of the three years they were apart and the two were thrilled to start their new life together when John returned from war in 1945.

Following his service to our country, John began his career with the JC Penney Co. in Sunbury, PA, that lasted 40 years. He managed stores in Lancaster, PA, Fredericksburg, VA, Derby, CT, and Pottstown PA. He was a merchandiser at heart and loved his work.

Throughout all those years, he and Ellen involved themselves in serving the Lord. Trying to live lives pleasing to the Lord was the centerpiece of their life together for 73 years until Ellen went to be with the Lord in January 2015.

Prov. 10:7 reads, “The memory of the one who trusts in the Lord will be a blessing.” What blessings there are in our many memories of this precious man!

He was generous-hearted. He loved to give to others, whether it be flowers and vegetables from his garden, bargains from Penney’s, financial help for those in need, support of missions, or candy from his candy jar. He loved to share whatever he had. God says He loves a cheerful giver- how much He must love John!

John could not be with someone long without sharing some encouraging, uplifting word. “Thanks for coming into my world!” “Keep up the good work!” All who know him have been nourished by his kind words.

He loved to play games. He was known in the neighborhood for playing baseball in his backyard with his own children - and the kids from the neighborhood. What a great dad he was! As an adult, Scrabble was his favorite game and he was still able to beat the best at 100. In later years, he favored “Go Fish” and “Old Maid” with his greatgrandkids.

How he loved to read broadly – his Bible, books about Israel, world news, medical books, National Geographic. In these last 6 months, while most of the world was fixated on distressing news, he was reading the inspiring biographies of 19th century Christian leaders, Charles Spurgeon and George Mueller.

John was known for a contented heart and for his gratitude. Ask anyone at Milestone Senior Living in Rhinelander where he resided for 11 years. The kindness of the staff was always rewarded with his genuine words of thanks even to his last moments. They felt his appreciative heart.

In conduct and speech, he was a true gentleman. He treated women with honor and respect. His words only expressed the gracious man he was.

One of the greatest gifts he gave his family was that he was a faithful man. He was faithful to his wife through the three long hard years of their separation because of the war and for the rest of their life together, cherishing her over a lifetime. And, he was equally faithful to the Lord in all things. His children and grandchildren have received the blessing of living their lives under his covering prayers, even to his final days. What a priceless gift he gave to his son, Jerry, and his daughter, Nancy – and to their families. He was a man who loved the Lord, loved his wife and loved them faithfully. To them all, he has been a hero.

His life is a legacy of what it looks like to follow Jesus Christ across a lifetime. Through war, through many trials, through the lockdown of his assisted facility in COVID, he held on to his faith in Jesus Christ. He was greatly concerned that our country has fallen away from their trust in God. He was troubled that men have shrunk back from praying in the name of Jesus. Yes, John held onto his trust in Christ to the end – and Jesus Christ held on to John, keeping him, mind, body, and soul, providing for his every need supernaturally, proving that John’s lifetime of 101 ¾ years could not outlast God’s favor.

He will be dearly missed by his son, Jerry and his wife, Maryann Derck, and by his daughter and her husband, Nancy and Bill Long; his five grandchildren: Amy Long, Trevor (Cassie) Long, Betsy (Nate) Koch,
Ben (Klara) Long, Elizabeth Derck, as well as his 11 greatgrandchildren: Jaden, Josie, Maia, and Tobey Long; Lewis, Emma, Pippa, and Magnolia Long; Bekah, Kenny, and Kara Koch, as well as nieces and nephews, dear friends and some very special caregivers. His memory will continue to spur them on to love and good deeds.

In heaven, what joy for him to be welcomed home by his Lord, Jesus Christ, along with Ellen, his wife, his mother and father, his 11 siblings and many other family members. Often, in these last months, he would ponder aloud, “I wonder what they are doing in heaven.” It is a joy to us to know that Dad now knows!

A father to the fatherless is God. Psalm 68:5
To John, who lost has daddy when he was 7, God’s promise to be a wonderful Father proved true.

God’s favor lasts a lifetime. Psalm 30:5b
True to His promise, John’s lifetime did not outlast God’s favor.

God promised, “I have upheld you since your birth and have carried you since you were born. Even to your old age and your white hair, I am He, I am He who will sustain you, I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” Isaiah 46:3,4
Across a lifetime, God kept every line of His promise to John, and on Sept. 7, 2020, He rescued him from death and took him to heaven.

Grandchildren are the crown of the aged and the glory of children is their father. Prov. 17:6
The grandchildren and greatgrandchildren were truly John’s crown and delight. And Jerry and Nancy are thankful it was into Dad (and Mom’s) world God brought them – even though Dad always said good bye to them by saying, “Thank you for coming into MY world!”

A man full of age shall be preciouser than pure gold and shining.
A person of great age and maturity shall be more precious or rare than gold. Is. 13:12 WYC
To all who know John, he is preciouser and more rare than gold.

The Memorial Service for John will be Monday, September 21, 2020, 10 AM, at the Three Lakes Evangelical Free Church, Three Lakes, WI. There will be no formal visitation, but all are welcome to attend and join the family in this time together. Burial will immediately follow at the Three Lakes Cemetery.

The family is so appreciative of all the love and prayers that have been poured out on them and for them. God has been only loving and kind and faithful through His people.

You may leave your private condolences for the Derck family at The Carlson Funeral Home (715-369-1414) is serving the Derck family.

Cemetery Details


Three Lakes Cemetery Final Resting Place

U.S. Highway 45
Three Lakes, WI 54562

U.S. Highway 45 Three Lakes 54562 WI
United States

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