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Lois E. Derby, 93, registered nurse at GM was active volunteer after retirement

Aug. 31, 1925 – Nov. 28, 2018

Lois E. Derby worked for 40 years as a registered nurse, while raising two daughters and two sons, and enjoyed camping, boating, crafts and gardening.

In retirement, she remained active as a volunteer and a member of several groups, and up until the past few years, she often volunteered to drive her friends to outings.

Mrs. Derby died on Nov. 28, 2018, in her longtime home in the Town of Tonawanda. She was 93.

Born in Tonawanda, she was the daughter of Ivory and Emma (Herman) Shain and the older sister of Carol.

She was a 1943 graduate of Tonawanda High School, where she played volleyball and was on the intermediate basketball team, earning a spot on the athletic Girls Letter Club in 1941. The same year, she won the first prize of $2 in a schoolwide contest for writing new words to the tune, "There'll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight!"

She was a 1946 graduate of Millard Fillmore Hospital School of Nursing.

She was introduced to Warren Derby, a Navy veteran of World War II, by a girlfriend who lived next door to the Derby family on Barton Street in Buffalo and was dating Mr. Derby's brother.

On March 12, 1948, Lois Shain and Warren Derby married in the parsonage of Immanuel Lutheran Church in the City of Tonawanda. Mr. Derby worked for the Kenmore Police Department for eight years, then worked in security at the General Motors Chevrolet Tonawanda Engine plant.

Mrs. Derby worked from 1946 to 1950 at Millard Fillmore Hospital and started in 1951 in the medical department at the Chevrolet Tonawanda plant. She retired from there in 1980, but worked substitute shifts at Trico from 1982 to 1986.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Derby worked overtime, including some weekends, said their oldest child, Cynthia Mawson. But she has fond memories of boating and family camping trips to the Adirondacks.

On those rustic camping trips, "In the morning, she'd be frying bacon and eggs over a little propane stove," her daughter said. "I remember picnic lunches, and in the fall, she loved to take us to Letchworth State Park or Chestnut Ridge."

All her life, Mrs. Derby was active in clubs and organizations. She belonged to the Millard Fillmore Alumni, the Western New York Occupational Nurses Association and the Ellwood Homemakers in the Town of Tonawanda. Later in life she belonged to the Town of Tonawanda Senior Citizens and was a member of the Sunshine Girls, a group that entertained at nursing homes. She was a member of the General Motors Salaried Retirees Association.

Mrs. Derby volunteered in the Red Cross Blood Pressure Clinic in Tonawanda, at Sisters Hospital and at First Trinity Lutheran Church, where she belonged to the Altar Guild, the Chapel Guild and later the OPUS group, which stands for "Old People Up to Something."

The Derbys owned about five acres in Hinsdale, and would stay there in "a little tiny trailer, the kind you would pull behind a car," said their daughter. "They loved to go out there."

Mrs. Derby's youngest son, Warren "Lee," recalled annual trips to the Thousand Islands and a family trip to Mexico when he was 12.

Mrs. Derby also visited Hawaii and Europe and took many theater trips to Toronto with the Tonawanda Senior Citizens group. She also enjoyed gardening, china painting, needlepoint, crochet and caring for her grandchildren.

Mrs. Derby "was really big on local history," said her daughter. "She could tell you anything about the City of Tonawanda, North Tonawanda, because that is where most of her relatives were from, or the Town of Tonawanda."

Mr. Derby died on Aug. 27, 1991.

"She was very active up to the last few years of her life," said her son.

Besides her daughter and son, Mrs. Derby  is survived by another daughter, Janice, another son, Richard; four grandchildren' two great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday in the C. Mertz and Son Funeral Home, 911 Englewood Ave., Town of Tonawanda.

Donations may be made to First Trinity Lutheran Church 1570 Niagara Falls Blvd., Tonawanda, NY 14150.

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