Harley Derrick

Formerly of Baker City and Halfway, 1934-2020

Harley Sidney Derrick, 86, of Fruitland, Idaho, and formerly of Baker City and Halfway, died on Dec. 29, 2020, at Saint Alphonsus Hospital in Boise.

Due to COVID restrictions, the family will postpone a memorial service until a later date.

Harley was born on Aug. 27, 1934, at Ontario to Margaret (Wilburn) Derrick and Marve Derrick. He spent his early years with his parents on a ranch near South Crane, Idaho. Later he went to third grade in Caney Valley, Tennessee, then moved to Lime, Oregon, where he attended grade school in Lime and middle school in Huntington. In 1946, Harley started high school in Baker, where he graduated in 1952. He joined the Army in 1954. He was first stationed in San Francisco, and later he served in the Intelligence Division at the Headquarters of the United Nations Command in Tokyo.

After serving in the Army, Harley returned to Baker City in 1958. Upon his return, he married Sharon Cathey, and they made their home in Baker. Harley then made use of the GI Bill and earned his bachelor’s degree at Eastern Oregon College in 1962, majoring in Secondary Education. During this time, Harley and Sharon welcomed twin daughters, Kathy and Karen, in 1959 and son, Michael, a year and three weeks later. Harley often worked two and three jobs to make ends meet while earning his degree; he truly believed in the power of education to enrich and change a person’s status in life and did his best to help all of his children and grandchildren reach their individual education goals later in life.

After earning his degree, Harley accepted a position teaching civics, government, and history at Halfway High School (later Pine Eagle High School) in Halfway. Harley held this position his entire teaching career, from 1962 to 1992. He loved teaching and helping his students learn, and his students loved him. Harley was also a true lifelong learner; he was an avid reader and always had two or three books at a time he was reading, generally on topics such as history, geography or current affairs.

Harley was not one to settle on just one livelihood; in 1967 he and Sharon purchased their dairy farm outside of Halfway. Harley rose at 4 o’clock every morning to milk cows, finished and went on to start his day teaching, milked again in the evening, and participated in many extracurricular activities at the high school after milking chores were done in the evening. He also attended all of his children’s many sports activities as well, all in the span of a day. Interspersed in all of this was time spent farming and raising beef. During this time, Harley and Sharon also helped raise their twin nieces, Darla and Karla. Harley retired from teaching in 1992 and he and Sharon sold the dairy herd in 1995; they moved to Ontario to be closer to their next adventure — grandchildren.

Harley lovingly cared for Sharon during her nine-year battle with cancer. After her death, he became active with the Ontario Seniors, and enjoyed attending the various senior dances in the local communities. He developed many friendships, and worked with son Mike at Mike’s business in Ontario right up until his death.

Harley was a wonderfully witty, wise man who loved his family and friends with his whole heart. He was a hard worker who loved deeply and always did his best to help those he cared for with all that he had. His family was so very precious to him, and he was proud of each child and grandchild and the unique things that made each one special. He will be deeply missed by all those who loved and enjoyed the very special person that he was.

Harley is survived by his brother and sister-in-law, Lee and Susan Derrick of Payette, Idaho; his sister and brother-in law, Sandy and Gary Geils of Ontario, and sister-in-law, Verla Boles of Baker City; his daughters and sons-in-law, Kathy and Steve Iida of Ontario, and Karen Derrick and Kirby Wood of Urbandale, Iowa; his son and daughter-in-law, Michael and Diahann Derrick of Ontario; his special niece, Karla Cathey of Sacramento, California; and six grandchildren, Chelsey Iida, Chase Iida, Dashel Ross, Sophia Ross, Daniel Derrick and Katie Derrick.

Harley was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Sharon; his parents; his brother, Tim; his sister, Shirley Dorrah; and his niece, Darla Cathey.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Cancer Society, www.cancer.org

In a tribute to Harley, his family wrote that he would like you all to know that his work here is done. He had a call from God that could not exactly be ignored. And, he had a date with Sharon, the love of his life, that he was dying to make.

This teacher’s last assignment guarantees a perfect reunion with his wife, Sharon, mother, Margaret, father, Marve, sister, Shirley, brother, Tim, and a host of other family and friends. The syllabus includes no restrictions on travel, no social distancing, and no masks. Bonus of this assignment includes a brand-new body, dancing with Sharon, endless storytelling, and incredible farming.

His last lesson plans included instructions to his children, Kathy (Steven), Karen (Kirby), Mikey (Diahann), Karla, and grandchildren, Chelsey, Chase, Dashel, Daniel, Katie and Sophie, that a summer family celebration is to be held in his beloved Halfway. This party is to be full of laughter, memories, and love.

We want Harley to know that he was an amazing Daddy and Grandpa and we are so happy that he is home. We will always remember the lessons he taught us: that there is no substitute for honesty and integrity, that life’s greatest treasures cannot be purchased, that true love is giving of oneself and serving others, and that trials and failures are some of life’s greatest gifts.

His warmth, passion, and love of life will be remembered by his family, friends, colleagues, and students.

As the final bell has rung, please know that you were our beloved Daddy and Grandpa, mentor, counselor, and friend. You, Daddy, were one for the ages, and we are grateful for all your lessons and love.

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Carol Thompson

What a lovely tribute. Harley and I shared the thrill of being part of the first class to graduate from the “New” Baker High School in 1952. I also had ties to Halfway, my husband having been born and raised there. So, class reunions held in both Baker and Halfway have provided many opportunities for meeting and greeting our long-time friend. He will be remembered, and much missed. My heartfelt condolences. Carol Thompson

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