A spark that was an imp named Theresa A. Shells Derr left this physical plane on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019. She was reunited with her parents and beloved brothers who preceded her to the journey beyond.
She was born Nov. 30, 1951 in Ashtubula, Ohio. Theresa moved to Idaho in 1970 where she met her two best friends for life—Karen Cox and husband—Charles Derr.
She loved Chuck “to the moon and back” but nothing was as important to her than her kids…Lisa, Angie, Vi. These were the children that she taught how to be kind and compassionate to others. She taught by example of how to work hard for what you wanted in life and the courage to change things you didn’t like. Theresa showed her daughters that money was not all important nor could it replace personality traits such as integrity, honesty, responsibility, gratitude, teamwork and education. All her daughters grew up knowing that learning and applying that learning to life was the way out of the physical and emotional poverty they lived—”Make good choices and think before you act.”
Theresa did not allow her children to watch television, but taught them how to play cards and board games—”Anyone up for a game of Hong Kong Rummy”? She believed that all problems could be solved over a jigsaw puzzle in the early morning hours with hot cocoa. Theresa would serenade all who were staying over with piano and guitar music each night. Mom’s greeting of “Hey Lady” will be sorely missed by all.
Theresa believed “I am a jack of all trades, but master of none.” Those that were fortunate to know her well knew there was nothing she could not accomplish—maestro on the piano, guitar, and clarinet—one hell of a dancer, building saddles, sewing new garments and altering old, farming, canning, remodeling houses, fixing old muscle cars and trucks, running a chain saw, baling hay and rescuing abused animals and people.
She returned to school in later years to achieve two degrees in accounting and business management. When able she rode her ATV and swam in her beloved South Fork. In later years she loved to go for rides and sit and listen to the water as it flowed by—”There is nothing more soothing and calming than my river.”
Her most notable achievements by her standards were dancing with a wolf she helped rescue with Animal Ark—”I am a dancer with wolves”; being blessed to live in America—”We are blessed to live in a country where you can become anything you put your mind to”; keeping her family together and connected—”It is not that difficult to roll up your sleeves when you have help!”; teaching all her daughters how to make Grandma’s famous pidogies(!), and lastly her grandchildren Kevin, Charley, Alexis, Elizabeth, Jasmine, Jordan, Benjamin, and adopted kids Tammy and Jody. “We’ll keep on fighting to the end. We are the champions, no time for losers ’cause we are the champions of the world!”
Theresa is survived by her husband, Charles A. Derr, all five daughters, sister Ann M. Fronk, brother Mark A. Shells and Micheal Haynes and Susie Shells.
In lieu of flowers the family is requesting donations in Theresa Derr’s name be made to Tri-State Hospital Dialysis Center, 1221 Highland Ave., Clarkston, WA 99403. Thank you for helping us give some other family extended time with a loved one. A private service will take place in the summer for family and friends.