Dr. Richard (Doc) Franklin Derby, 90
Wednesday, November 28, 2012 2:53 AM
Dr. Richard (Doc) Franklin Derby, 90, died at Pine Haven Care Center in
Pine Island, Minn., where he had resided since July 2011. Richard
Franklin Derby was born Feb. 24, 1922, in Milton Township, Dodge County,
Minnesota, to Walter and Esther (Alberts) Derby.
During World War II, he served in England and France (participated in
the battle of Normandy) from 1942 through 1945 in the Signal Corp with a
final rank of communications chief. He received the American Service medal,
Good Conduct medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Service medal and World
War II Victory medal.
Although he didn't graduate from high school, it didn't mean that he
hadn't had a thirst for knowledge. He had read the complete set of World
Book Encyclopedias from cover to cover. After the military, he attended and
graduated with an AA degree from Rochester Community College in 1948. He
continued his studies to be an engineer, attending the University of
Minnesota. Because engineers weren't finding employment, he decided to
study at Dunwoody Institute in Minneapolis to be a tool and die maker. He
was one of the first to be employed at the IBM plant in Rochester, Minn.,
when it opened in 1956. He decided to change careers when he enrolled at
Northwestern Chiropractic College in Minneapolis in 1960, where he was a
member of the Nu Eta Chi Honor Society. After completing his studies there,
he was a practicing chiropractor in Rochester.
On Nov. 18, 1966, he married Virginia Buxton at First Baptist Church,
Stewartville, Minn. They lived in Rochester, Stewartville, Canton, S.D.,
Sheldon, Iowa, George, Iowa, Marietta, Ga., and Ashton, Iowa, where he
practiced his profession over a period of 46 years. He was still working
many hours daily as a chiropractor until he was 86 years old when he was
forced to retire due to health reasons. Dr. He was always willing to take
care of his patients whenever they needed help from his healing hands. He
would work around his patients' schedules, whether that would be 5 a.m. or
midnight, on any day of the week, including holidays.
After his marriage, he was very active in the Baptist Church. He was a
Sunday School teacher and also frequently sang duets with his wife at church
services. He was a member of the American Legion in Canton, S.D., and
Ashton, Iowa, for many years. He also belonged to the Minnesota
Chiropractic Association, South Dakota Chiropractic Association, and the
Iowa Chiropratic Association at various times.
He loved to travel with his wife and was an avid reader, especially
books or articles of a scientific nature. He always thought "outside of the
box." He was constantly thinking of how something could be made better,
always inventing. His talents ranged from putting in a water system on the
family farm as a teenager; building a hay bale elevator; inventing a part
for an airplane, a self-adjusting step ladder, and a better chiropractic
adjusting table; as well as ideas as to how to extinguish oilwell fires. He
also had his own unique ideas about better ways to adjust his chiropractic
patients. He was a man of small stature with giant ideas, always saying
that nothing was impossible.
He is survived by two daughters, Sara (Peter Shane) Derby-Burras of
Essex, Vt., and Laura Derby of Los Angeles, Calif.; and one grandchild,
Breanna Derby-Burras. He is also survived by a sister, Shirley Lien of West
He was preceded in death by his wife, Virginia; his parents; brothers,
Charles of Yankton, S.D., Lester of Byron, and Howard of rural West Concord.
The funeral service was held Monday, Nov. 26, at Zwingli United Church
of Christ in Berne, Minn., with the Rev. Victor Jortack officiating.
Interment was in Evergreen Cemetery in Mantorville, with military graveside
services provided by the Kasson American Legion and the Mantorville VFW. A
memorial service was held at Tabernacle Baptist Church, George, Iowa, on
Tuesday, Nov. 27.