© photo by Bob Lefebvre
CORNWALL, Ontario - A pillar of the business community who also dabbled as an owner of the Cornwall Colts has passed away.
Don Derry was 68. Family members confirmed he passed away Saturday.
Derry was a staple of the business world in Cornwall for years, owning funeral homes and a limo service while also adding a stint as the president of the Cornwall and Area Chamber of Commerce in 1986, not to mention a nod as the citizen of the year in 1991.
His Cornwall Colts were often the class of the league, and played in the Fred Page Cup in Joliette, Que. and Dartmouth, N.S. in 1995 and 1996 respectively. He eventually sold the team in the late 1990s.
Former colleagues remembered him with fondness.
"He brought me into a business I would have never otherwise encountered and made it a spiritual experience... instead of one that would leave me nervous or doubtful that I was a fit," said Jodi Hawkshaw, who worked with Derry in the 1990s when he was a funeral home owner. "He was always a kind and gentle man with a huge smile.
"People who knew him and even those who did not can attest to his generous nature."
Derry's wife Darlene said the behind-the-scenes philanthropy that her husband displayed was often lost in the public eye.
"He loved his hockey, and he sponsored so many minor hockey teams," she said. "That was really big to him."
So was helping children who were unable to play because their family could not afford the costly hockey equipment.
"They would get the money, but they wouldn't know where it is coming from," said Darlene. "That always made me feel good when he did things like that."
Derry's Limousine Service also provided transportation for children travelling from the area to the Shriner's Hospital in Montreal for treatment.
Don and Darlene Derry have two children, Shannon and Ryan, as well as five grandchildren, Rowan, Wesley, Maxwell, Kiera and Kenleigh.
A private family service will be held later.