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Phaon B. Derr, Jr.January 5, 2017
Phaon B. Derr, Jr., Captain U.S. Navy, Retired, died at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL on January 5, 2017. He was 93 years old. Preceded in death by his wife, Katherine, two daughters and a brother, he is survived by his three children, Patricia Shaw (Steven), Phaon Derr (Jeanine) and Chris Derr (Wilna), eight grandchildren, several great-grandchildren, a brother, William O. Derr, and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews. Born in Philadelphia, PA on Sep. 8, 1923, he entered the U.S. Naval Academy in June 1941. He was commissioned an Ensign, U.S. Navy in June 1944 after which he spent the remaining years of World War II in the Pacific Theater aboard the Battleship U.S.S. Idaho, where he participated in the Iwo Jima and Okinawa campaigns. After WW II, he entered the Navy's flight training program in 1946 and was designated a Naval Aviator in 1947. In June of 1947, he married his beloved Katherine Marie Munter of Washington, D.C., who died in December, 2002 after 55 years of marriage.
His flying tours of duty were in Heavy Attack Squadron VAH 5 and Patrol Squadrons VP-5, 7 and 11. He was commanding Officer of VP-7 in 1963 and 1964 while serving in Jacksonville, FL. His shore duty assignments consisted of staff duty in London, UK; Bureau of Aeronautics in Washington, D.C; Ass't. to the Commandant of Midshipmen, U.S. Naval Academy; graduate education at the U.S. Navy Postgraduate School and at the U.S. Naval War College; Commanding Officer of the Naval ROTC Unit at Miami University, Oxford, OH; and Commander Navy Recruiting Area Five in Chicago, IL. He retired from the Navy on Jan. 1, 1973 with the rank of Captain and spent his retirement years in Jacksonville, FL.
Capt. Derr was a founding member of Hospice of Northeast Florida, now Community Hospice, and was instrumental in the successful effort to enact legislation, both State and Federal, that enabled small, community-based hospices to expand and flourish throughout the country. He served as President of Hospice of Northeast Florida in 1982. Fittingly, both he and his wife, Katherine, also one of the founding members, were under the care of Community Hospice at the time of their deaths.
A Celebration of Life will be held at 11:00 a.m., Tuesday, February 21, 2017 in Christ Episcopal Church of Ponte Vedra Beach, FL.
The Funeral Service will be held at 10:30 a.m., Friday, February 24, 2017 at the U.S. Naval Academy Chapel in Annapolis, MD, followed by a brief service and inurnment at the Naval Academy Columbarium.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Community Hospice, 4266 Sunbeam Rd., Jacksonville, FL 32257.
Community Hospice of Northeast Florida
4266 Sunbeam Rd., Jacksonville FL 32257