Thomas Derr

Visitation at Funeral Home

3:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Friday, June 8, 2018
Koch Funeral Home
2401 S. Atherton St.
State College, Pennsylvania, United States

Obituary of Thomas Derr

Thomas B. Derr, 88, of State College, died on Saturday, June 2, 2018.


Born Dec. 31, 1929, in Reading, he was a son of the late William T. and Clara Burchard Derr. On May 30, 1952, he married Jane L. Ruppert, who survives.


In addition to his wife, he is survived by two children, Jeffrey A. Derr and his wife, Patricia, of State College and Kathy J. Taylor and her husband, Harry, of Ft. Myers, FL; five grandchildren, Trevor, Kyle and Korey Taylor and Heather and Robin Derr. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his sister, Constance Anderson.


Thomas was a graduate of Reading High School. He served in the United States Navy from 1949 until 1950. Thomas received a Bachelor's degree in 1960 and a Master's degree in Industrial Engineering in 1961 from Penn State University.


He was employed as a project Engineer for Ordnance Research Lab in State College from 1960 until 1961. He was an Industrial Engineer from 1961 until 1962, a Personnel Manager from 1962 until 1963 and the Director of Employee Relations from 1963 until 1968 at Textile Machine Works in Reading. Thomas was the Director of Industrial relations for the Rockwell Standard Corporation in Detroit from 1968 until 1969. He was the Director of Industrial Relations for the North American Rockwell Corporation, also in Detroit, from 1969 until 1970. He was the Vice President and General Manager from 1970 until 1973 and then the President from 1973 until 1989 of Metlmex Corporation in Lewistown. Thomas was the President of Big John Grills and Rotisseries of Lewistown from 1973 until 1998 and of Pleasant Gap beginning in 1985. He also had Big John Party Rentals of Pleasant Gap in the early 1990's.


From 1962 until 1966 he served as the President of the Camp Fire girls in Reading. He also served as President of the Berks County Manufactures Association from 1962 until 1965. Thomas served on the Board of Directors for Centre hills Country Club from 1980 until 1986. He was a 1981 Honorary Chairman of the March of Dimes Walk-A-Thon. He served as President of the Penn State Engineering Society from 1984 until 1986. In 1987 he received the Outstanding Engineering Alumni Award from Penn State University and in 1999 he received the National Barbecue Association Man of the Year Award.


He was a member of the State College Presbyterian Church, the Elks Lodge and Centre Hills Country Club.


Visitation will be held from 3 until 6 p.m., on Friday, June 8, 2018 at Koch Funeral Home, 2401 South Atherton Street, State College.


A private memorial service will be held at the convenience of the family with Celebrant Jackie Hook officiating.


Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer's Association, 270 Walker Dr Suite 15, State College, PA 16801 or, and Clearwater Conservancy, 2555 N Atherton St, State College, PA 16803 or


Arrangements are under the care of Koch Funeral Home, State College. Online condolences and signing of the guest book may be entered at or visit us on Facebook.

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