Following the diagnosis of an aggressive brain tumor, Richard L. Derrick, 72, passed away on Sunday, July 11, 2021 at Altru Hospital in Grand Forks, surrounded by family.
Rich was born on January 12, 1949 in Spokane, WA, the son of Roy and Evelyn (Reidt) Derrick, and grew up in Priest River, ID. After graduating high school, Rich went on to attend North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene, where he earned his Associate’s Degree.
In 1969, Rich joined the United States Air Force and served for 6 1/2 years. During this time, he completed training in simulation electronics technology, leading to his position as a Simulation Engineer, in which he played a critical role in the installation and maintenance of flight simulators used in the training of military pilots.
Following his honorable discharge from the military, Rich went to work for AAI, where he continued to build training simulators for the Air Force. During his tenure with the company, he was also tasked with conducting quality assurance site visits, both stateside and internationally.
In 1983, Rich moved to Grand Forks, ND, where he met Shirley (Devine) Durand. On August 31, 1984, Rich and Shirley were married and settled in rural Manvel. Around this time, Rich left AAI and went back to work for the Department of Defense at the Grand Forks Air Force Base as a civilian contractor. Rich and Shirley moved to Grand Forks in 1995 and Rich continued his work with flight training simulators. He later took on the role of the Local Area Network Manager for the base hospital until his retirement in 2012.
Attention to detail and dedication to the task at hand were two constants throughout Rich’s life that he applied equally across his professional and personal pursuits. Rich’s successful career was complimented with a wide variety of personal interests. Influenced by his mother’s love of music, Rich developed a lifelong passion for singing at a young age. His humble beginnings as the lead singer in a high school band paved the way for many years of singing in church choirs (St. Timothy’s in Manvel and St. Michael’s in Grand Forks) and, beginning in 1998, membership in the Crosstown Merger Barbershop Quartet. Rich later joined the Fallcreek Quartet which enjoyed years of entertaining audiences - many times as the headliner - across ND, MN, and multiple locations in Canada, including two-time participation in the International Seniors Quartet Competition.
In addition to singing, Rich’s many interests included collecting and refurbishing antique clocks, restoring old vehicles, target and skeet shooting, working all types of puzzles, riding his Harley, playing golf, and spending time with his grandchildren.
Rich is survived by his wife Shirley; children April Prock (Mike Munkeby), Wendy Carey, Brent Durand, Laura (Chris) Schauer; grandchildren Morgan, Evin and Jae Prock; Jace and Ayden Carey, Joseph Kluzak; Jessa and Colten Schauer; and sister Sharon Reed.
He was preceded in death by his parents, grandson Jack, sister-in-law Joyce Devine, and brother-in-law Scott Reed.