Kathleen Jayne Derby
1952 — 2019
Kathleen Jayne Derby died of a massive heart attack in Tokyo, Japan, on May 31, where she and her husband, John Derby, had traveled to attend the wedding of a family member.
She would have been 67 next month, and she and her husband had split residences in Merced and Baja Mexico.
Kathleen was born in Merced and raised in El Nido where her parents Wanda and Otha Hooper lived. She attended El Nido and Merced schools, and at one time, ran a plant store in downtown Merced called the Plant Depot.
She met her husband 40 years ago and they teamed up to run what is now the Merced County Times, and Derby publications — made up of a half dozen weekly newspapers, in Atwater, Winton, Hilmar, Hughson, Denair and Waterford.
“Kathy,” as she was known to employees, was the head of the graphics department during a time when offset newspapers were put together by the “cut and paste” process.
Computers were coming into their own, and she was responsible for intergrating a new system using Radio Shack computers so that the reporters could set type directly to go into print.
In 1998, when the production plant for Derby Publications burned to the ground, and the publisher decided the weekly newspapers would continue to be printed, Kathleen gathered all the layout staff and they laid out the papers on the coffee table of her living room. For the next year, all the printing was done at the Turlock Journal while the newspaper business was rebuilt.
Kathleen Derby was an active sailor and member of the Lake Yosemite Sailing Association. She also helped navigate a 32-day voyage around the tip of Baja, Mexico, and up into the Sea of Cortez, which became the location of the Derby’s second residence.
Surviving Kathleen Jayne Derby is her husband John; brother Keith Hooper and wife Sandra of Atwater; her niece Natalie Dal Porto Trevino of Merced, with husband Noe, and her four children Alyssa Mendoza, PJ Mendoza, Evie Mendoza and Gigi Dal Porto. Her nephew Kelby Hooper lives in Chowchilla with his wife Sherrie and their son Austin.
She is also survived by a step-daugther, Laura Hemlick, in Morton, Ill. and her husband Bart, and son Sean and his wife Emily; and her stepson, David Derby of Paradise and his wife Veronica, and their two daughters Carolyn and Rosemary.
A wake will be held for friends and family from the local area at the Lake Yosemite Sailing Clubhouse on Wednesday, June 19, 2019, starting at 6 p.m.