Local funeral home seeks acquaintances to attend veteran’s memorial service

— Created July 15, 2020 by Kathy Reed

By Kathy Reed

The search is on to find anyone who knew retired U.S. Navy Sr. Chief Roy Derrick and can attend his memorial service and burial Tuesday.

The veteran passed away recently but has no known family. Derrick had made arrangements for his own service, and Kelly Davidson at Wallin Funeral Home and Cremation in Oak Harbor is carrying out his wishes. However, she would like to have people attend the services for this 20-year military veteran.

“I hope somehow we are able to reach someone that knew him,” Davidson said. “We have wonderful people from the VFW, the American Legion and the Patriot Guard all coming, but none of them knew him; it would be truly wonderful if we located someone who knew him or worked with him who could come to the service. I think it would be meaningful to have someone relay his story and it would be really special to bring somebody in who can speak about him as a person.”

Visitation for Derrick is scheduled to take place from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, with a memorial service at 11 a.m. at Wallin Funeral Home. Burial will follow at Sunnyside Cemetery in Coupeville. Davidson said anyone who may have known Derrick is welcome to attend the visitation, service or burial. Masks and social distancing requirements will be in place as Derrick is laid to rest with full military honors.

The service will be livestreamed on Wallin’s Facebook page at 11 a.m., because there are people in Everett who knew Derrick and there is a close friend in Arizona who also knew him, but Davidson said she would really like to have people attend the service in person to pay their respects.

“I’ve got a soft spot for veterans,” she said. “I’ve got a lot of respect for people who sign on that dotted line, because I did not. Mr. Derrick’s last duty station was here at [Naval Air Station] Whidbey Island – there’s got to be somebody out there that knows him.”

 What we do know about Sr. Chief Derrick comes from his military release form, or DD-214, that summarizes his military service. He enlisted in the Navy in 1968 and attended Basic Sonar School and Fleet Sonar School. He was discharged in 1974 at Pearl Harbor, but reenlisted later that year. Derrick retired in 1989 from his last duty station, NAS Whidbey. As an Ocean Systems Technician Senior Chief (OTMCS) he was likely a plank owner of the Naval Ocean Processing Facility, which was commissioned in 1987. He served with distinction and was awarded several service medals and ribbons.

Personal information, however, is not included in the DD-214, so much of Derrick’s life after his retirement is unknown.

“We do know, from the notes made in 1999 when he filled out his pre-need paperwork, that he was divorced,” Davidson said. “There were no children listed. We also know there is an estranged brother he hadn’t talked to in 30 years and there is a close friend in Arizona who is getting his flag and his Navy ring.

“He has been in Everett the past two years and before that he was at Summerhill,” she continued, adding that as far as she can tell, Derrick lived on Whidbey Island following his retirement, but there is no record of work history. “A senior chief is pretty top of the line; there may be several chiefs who may still be active or in the area, so I’m hopeful someone in the area knows him.”

Chaplain David G. Lura will be speaking at Derrick’s service. He said the military’s policy of “no soldier left behind” holds true on the battle field as well as when it is time to be laid to rest.

“As I understand it, Senior Chief Roy Derrick had no family and pre-arranged his own final wishes,” Lura said. “He served his country with honor and deserves to be respectfully remembered, including with military honors.

“I know nothing about any religious or spiritual leanings [he may have had], but I do believe in a Shepherd who counts us all as his sheep,” Lura continued. “As a Christian Navy Chaplain, I will offer words echoing the Apostle Paul (who was also a tentmaker), who wrote to the people in Corinth (Chapter 5:1): ‘Our bodies are like tents that we live in here on earth. But when these tents are destroyed, we know that God will give each of us a place to live. These homes will not be buildings that someone has made, but they are in heaven and will last forever.'”

Anyone interested in attending the visitation, funeral service or burial is welcome to contact Davidson at Wallin Funeral Home. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, attendance is limited to 50 people in the chapel and 50 in the lobby. There is no restriction at the graveside service, as it will be outdoors and those attending will be able to practice social distancing measures more easily.

“If anyone wants to reach out ahead of the service, I’m happy to field phone calls of any nature,” said Davidson. “I’m happy to coordinate anything to help move this along and give Sr. Chief Derrick the honors and respect he is due.”

Although it is not necessary to sign up to attend the services, anyone interested may reach Davidson at Wallin Funeral Home and Cremation by phone at 360-675-3447 or via email at kelly@wallinfuneralhome.com.

“I just have this nagging feeling there’s someone out there that knew him and would like to attend,” she said.