Frank Derrick

December 13, 1913 - December 3, 2001


Frank Derrick ran the Lewis ranches since 1960 and worked for the Lewis family since he was 17, including the RO Ranch (his father worked for the RO) for much of his adult life.    He was a cow man and a gentleman.   Jay O'Brien, who always hated to see cowboys rope, said he felt validated when Donny Hall told him that Frank Derrick always looked down on roping.   Frank was someone to try to emulate.

At Frank's funeral, Bobby Boston eloquently remembered Frank: 

I can't remember a time in my life that I didn't know Frank Derrick.   He's always been there, in good times or in draughts.  Frank was always at the head of everything he ever did.  Not because he raced to get there, just because he got up earlier than everyone else.  He allowed time to change a flat or two and still arrive at his destination first.  He probably drove slower than anyone else too.  One time we were driving to Yellow House, I was speeding down the road and Frank was sleeping.  I got stopped by a highway patrolman who gave me a ticket.  Frank woke up just long enough to thank him. 

I have asked for Frank's advise many times, in every junction of my life, and without exception, the answers I received were well thought out and precise, Frank would point out the future consequences of each choice, he always amazed me with his thoroughness and understanding.  Every correct or right decision that I have made in my life is a direct result of Frank's influence. 

His wisdom was unparalleled.  Frank wanted a trade to be good for both sides; he was fair and honest to the note.  Sustainable existence was important to Frank, he knew if you took too much from a pasture, a person or a horse, that there may not be enough when called upon again.  Frank always planned ahead.  He was always prepared.  Fair was an understatement when talking about Frank.  He always gave more than he got and never expected anything in return. 

Frank Derrick was a man of few words.  And every one of them counted.  He seldom used profanity.  People always listened when Frank spoke.  It was sometimes difficult waiting for Frank to speak, he had it all thought out before he cleared his throat and opened his mouth.  The words that come to mind when thinking of Frank are simple and to the point: honor, integrity and grace. 

Frank could stand more heat and more cold than most men.  He was no stranger to hard work or a long day.  I rarely remember Frank complaining about anything.  Almost anytime in my life, given a troubling situation, I could think about how Frank would handle it, and the answer would generally put me down the right path. 

Frank lived his life by "the golden rule".  He always treated others like he wanted to be treated.  And he must have wanted to be treated real well, because that's how he treated others, from Johnny Bates to the Duchess of Windsor, Frank listened when people spoke and cared about what they thought. 

Frank wasn't an easy guy to buy a present for.  Most of them are still in the wrapper in his house.  I went into to James Owens one day to buy Frank a pair of boots for Christmas.  James told me it would be a hundred dollars, I said, wait a minute; you always charge me three hundred.  James looked at me and smiled, and said Frank had loaned him money to buy his first car and to get married on.  He never charged Frank more than a hundred dollars for a pair of boots and he never would. 

Frank was a teacher and caretaker of cattle, horses and cowboys.  And all were better for it.  Frank's dignity was reflected in his actions, his appearance, and his handwriting.  Frank was loaded with generosity and compassion.  I can speak for many when I say our lives have been enriched for having known Frank Derrick.  His friendship and leadership have made those that knew him better people.  For me- it has truly been an honor and a privilege to have been a part of his life.

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