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Joseph H. Derse

Died: Thu., Oct. 12, 2017


Memorial Service

2:00 PM Fri., Oct. 27, 2017
Location: SpiriTrust Lutheran, the Village at Gettysburg


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Joseph H. Derse died on October 12, 2017 at the age of 97. Born in Brooklyn, NY, he raised his family in the New York metropolitan area, retiring to the Gettysburg area in 1993. He resided at SpiriTrust Lutheran, the Village at Gettysburg since 2009. He was pre-deceased by his second wife of 12 years, Phoebe Evans Derse; his first wife of 45 years, Eleanor Bingham Derse, whom he cared for until her death in 1988; an infant son Roger and his eldest granddaughter, Margaret Fedorisko. He is survived by 5 daughters, Leslie and spouse George Fedorisko, Alison Derse, Grace and spouse Peter Leavitt, Christine Derse and spouse David Lowry, Claudia and spouse Richard Anthony, 12 grandchildren, 2 great-grandchildren, and multiple nephews, nieces and extended family – especially nephew Theodore and spouse Laurie Rosenberger and family of Biglerville, PA.

Joseph spent most of his working years in secondary education as a math teacher in the Scarsdale, NY public high school, continuing to tutor high school students in retirement. He taught many notable personalities during his time in teaching and often reminisced about 'his kids'. He was noted for his 'bunny hop' number line and giant slide rule illustrations in class.

He enjoyed driving and owned many cars over his lifetime, playing chauffer for his family starting around the age of 14. He had a good memory for roads and used to describe every pothole from NYC to Gettysburg.

He shared a love of music with both his spouses. In his younger years, he was a soloist at St. John the Divine in New York City, and enjoyed playing the organ and piano well into his senior years. He enjoyed many lively discussions with his friends, whether about articles he read in Smithsonian, or during a Bible study.

A memorial service to honor his life will be held at 2 pm on Friday, October 27th at SpiriTrust Lutheran, the Village at Gettysburg, 1075 Old Harrisburg Pike, Gettysburg, PA. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory at www.SpiriTrustLutheran.org.

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