Joseph J. Derba, Jr., 78, recently of Norton, originally from Dorchester, St. William Parish & Band, died peacefully December 1, 2018. Born in Boston December 31, 1939, he was the son of Joseph J. & Helen Jasevic Derba (born Stanislava Jasevicius in Lithuania).
He is survived by his beloved older brother, best friend & idol, Eugene & his wife, Claire of Walpole; three sons, Robert of Norfolk & his wife Laura, Joseph III of Foxborough & his wife Linda & Kevin of Stoughton. The ultimate romantic optimist, Joe leaves his loving wife of 27 years, Patricia Roche Derba of Norton & former wives Patricia Burke Derba, his oldest friend & the mother of his sons, of Foxborough & Virginia Walsh of Rhode Island.
Joe leaves grandsons Justin & his wife Lori, Keith & his wife Megan, Pvt Joseph IV (USMC) & Brian; granddaughters Laila Derba & Brittany Castle; great granddaughters Mary, Kaydance & Kamryn & great grandson Declan. He is survived by nieces Sharon Derba, Michelle Bradley, Suzanne Klane, nephew Edward & 8 grand-nieces & -nephews. In addition to his parents, Joe was preceded in death by his great grandson Max & nephews Eugene Derba, Jr. & Martin Bradley.
Educated at Boston’s Motley, Edward Everett & Grover Cleveland Schools, Joe was a proud & ever-grateful 1957 graduate of Boston’s Cathedral H.S. While dreaming of being a chemical engineer, his father firmly directed him to accounting, and Joe received his certificate from the Bentley School of Accounting & Finance on Boylston St. When Bentley began granting degrees, Joe attended college at night, receiving his AS & BS Degrees in Accounting & was certified as a Public Accountant in MA & FL. In addition, he proudly earned his MBA from Babson College, was certified as a Valuation Analyst, testified as an expert witness, was an adjunct professor at Bentley & Johnson & Wales Colleges & presented at national professional conferences. After experience in private industry in the insurance, manufacturing & construction sectors, Joe took the entrepreneurial leap & opened his first business & accounting firm, Emerson Management, eventually directing one of the larger private accounting firms (below what was then the “Big 8”) in the region, Derba & Company, CPA’s, P.C. in Burlington & later Derba Consulting in MA & FL. Joe particularly enjoyed forensic accounting & consulting with & advising other entrepreneurs. He was blunt, fair & encouraging to his employees; dogged, creative, persistent & loyal to his clients, priding himself on telling them “what they didn’t want to hear” when needed.
Joe served proudly in the USCG Reserves, retiring as a Lieutenant Commander after 11 years.
Family members recall that from his earliest years, Joe loved new things, like his grandfather Derba before him. He may have started shopping at Robert Hall but made it to Louis. His first car was a used Packard from his father’s cab fleet equipped with “vented” floorboards, but it was eventually succeeded by a Delorean & Jaguar convertibles. A dreamer & frustrated architect, Joe owned 8 homes in his life, 3 of which he “tweaked” – tormenting builders with multitudes of change orders. With cars & motorcycles, he never met an option he didn’t like. Joe obtained his private pilot’s license but eventually came to his senses.
Joe enjoyed travel, skiing, camping, golf & motorcycling but his passions were running & sailing. He savored the peace & personal satisfaction of his regular runs - even when they became walks - & completed the Ocean State Marathon. Captain of 8 of his own power & sail boats & yachts, beginning with a Pierson 26, Joe was proud to have been a member of the NYYC. He lived the dream of cruising the Caribbean with Pat from the Virgin Islands to Grenada for 4 seasons aboard his pride & joy, My Romance, a Hallberg-Rassy 53.
Whether you were his family member, spouse, son, client, employee, medical provider, friend or neighbor, life in Joe’s orbit was never dull. He encouraged, exhilarated & exasperated, taking us along on each new adventure or project with his striving to do better, see more, try another new idea. Joe over-maintained & improved everything he ever owned. He was funny, loving, silly, forward-looking, challenging, maddening, profane - a force with which to reckon. Joe’s quiet, peaceful, gentle slipping toward the next life, so seemingly out of character, was his final, generous surprise for us all.
The Derba Family would like to express appreciation to Buffie, his Wednesday buddy, to those Harbor Resident Care Associates at The Village at Willow Crossings in Mansfield, and the Visiting Angels of North Attleboro who showed Joe kindness, respect & patience when he most needed it.
A Memorial Mass for Joe will be celebrated at 9 AM this Friday, December 7, 2018 at St. Susanna Church, 262 Needham St, Dedham, MA 02026 with a reception to follow in the lower church. A celebration of Joe’s life is planned for the spring. Dispersal of Joe’s ashes will be private.
To foster continued research, a sample of Joe’s brain tissue has been donated to the Brown Brain Tissue Resource Center, in association with R.I. Hospital.
Please omit flowers. If you wish to remember him with a memorial gift, Joe credited Cathedral HS with changing the trajectory of his life. Donations should be directed to: Cathedral 7-12 High School Advancement Office, 74 Union Park St, Boston 02118-2142. Joe’s family also suggests: Old Colony Hospice & Palliative Care, 321 Manley St, W. Bridgewater 02379-1022 or Cure Alzheimer’s Fund (where 100% of your donation goes directly to research) 34 Washington St, Suite 310, Wellesley Hills, MA 02481-1903.