At Princeton he majored in chemistry, joined Terrace Club, was on the soccer and rifle teams, and was active in IAA swimming, softball, bowling, pool, and billiards. In 1962, he became a United States citizen.
He married Madelon Steenhof from the Netherlands June 9, 1958. After retiring from Ferro Chemical, where he worked for 42 years in international chemical sales, he loved to spend time with his grandsons, watch Indians games, eat breakfast at the Whip, attend Little League games, play mahjong, give advice, and tell stories of his childhood.
Among his favorite authors were James Patterson, Clive Cussler, David Baldacci, Tom Clancy, Catherine Coulter, and Lee Child. As part of his job, Derk traveled extensively throughout Indonesia, Asia, and Europe, enjoying the different countries.
He was always dedicated to family and was very involved in raising and supporting his grandsons.
The family gives special thanks to his caregivers over the last several years — Lisa Kedlec, Dr. Ronald Flauto, Dr. Jeffrey Boyko, Stephanie, and the University Home Health Care Team.
He is survived by his wife, Madelon; children Michelle and Renee; and five grandchildren.