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To them he was a son, to others he was their papaw, or dad, brother, uncle or good friend.
Motivated by a zest for living life to its fullest, Kenny never let grass grow under his feet. He co-owned and operated Derr’s 4-Wheel Drive with his brother David and used it to launch the Ohio Valley Off-Road Association. Kenny Derr was an ordained “River Rat” and coordinator of the Great Ohio River Flat Boat Race for several years.
He built and captained the 3 story wooden ‘Party Barge’ which he jovially rechristened “The Dire Straits with a Motley Crew” after a couple of sinkings and a total refit. Most summers he could be found at the helm of a floating party near the French Island Marina and Boat Club.
Kenny, his beloved dog Maxx and the Party Barge were usually an integral part of the Ski Day celebration and other impromptu social gatherings on the Ohio River.
Kenny supported and deeply believed in many political and social causes. He fought for working people. He was a Democrat. He was a proud member of United Steel Workers Local 104, the Evansville Labor Temple, Warrick County Democratic Party, the Labor Day Association, Jobs with Justice,PatchworkCentral Food Pantry, Veterans For Peace and the Occupy Wall Street Movement. He was a card carrying member of the Democratic National Committee. He sat on the Warrick County Alcoholic Beverage Board and was a Democratic Precinct Committeeperson. He was also a recipient of President Obama’s Presidential Partners certificate.
Kenny served as a combat infantryman in the 101st Airborne in Vietnam. He worked with veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan to help them adjust to civilian life. He was a member of VFW Post 3418 and American Legion Post 200 in Boonville. He was not always proud of what he did in Vietnam but he was always proud of his service. He was a hero to his country and to his children.
He was a single father when that was still rare. He worked his entire adult life at ALCOA Warrick operations as a skilled maintenance mechanic.
Kenny died tragically in an accident that never should have happened on a lonely stretch of highway in Perry County, Indiana on Wednesday August 22, 2012 with his brother Mike by his side.
He is survived by his daughter, RaGina (Derr) Hudson, his son, Kevin, grandchildren Mackenzie Derr, Riley and Tryce Hudson, brothers, Jim, Mike and Steve and sister, Debbie Derr.
He was preceded in death by his father and mother, brother, David and nephew, Rick.
A Memorial Service was held at 3:00pm, Sunday, August 26, 2012, at Koehler Funeral Home Boonville Chapel with Military Rites by the Warrick County Veterans Memorial Services following the Memorial Service. A Wake for family and friends followed at 4:00pm Sunday at the Boonville VFW Post.
In Lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in memory of Kenny may be made to Patchwork Central Food Pantry, 100 Washingon Ave, Evansville, IN 47713.
At the Warrick County Democrats Central Committee Meeting on January 17, 2013, the new Warrick Democrat Headquarters was officially named Kenny Derr Memorial Hall.