Frank F. Derbes, age 79
Frank F. Derbes, age 79
Frank F. Derbes, age 79, a lifelong Quincy resident, passed away, unexpectedly, on Saturday, July 31, 2021, at home, after a long illness.
Frank was born in Quincy, to the late Toufic “Toffee” and Nowfe “Nellie” (Hassan) Derbes. Always with a strong work ethic, Frank spoke often of “working” at his family’s store, The Washington St. Market, at the age of 5. Frank grew up in Quincy Point and, despite moving to South Quincy as a teenager, always considered himself a proud “pointer”. Frank graduated from Quincy Trade school, Class of 1960. After graduation, he joined the family business, where he was a co-owner with his brothers of Derbes Brothers Construction. Starting from humble beginnings, the company would become one of the largest general contracting companies on the South Shore.
Frank served in the United States Army from 1962–1968 with the 187th Infantry Brigade, which was the support brigade to the 82nd Airborne Division. He always said how much he loved “jumping out of planes”. During that time, he achieved the rank of 1st Sergeant. His pride came from infantry, where he learned combat training and parachuting assault operations. Frank loved being a soldier. He achieved sharp shooter level, had ranger training, and was a well-respected drill sergeant, all before the age of 23. Frank loved being a soldier more than anything. Frank proudly served stateside during the Vietnam war, after a collapsed lung kept him home as his unit was activated in 1968. Frank was very proud of his military service and of the lifelong friendships he had made during that time. He spoke sadly, and often, of the many friends that never made it home.
In 1963, Frank saw “the most beautiful girl he’d ever seen” and told his best friend that he was going to marry that girl with the big brown eyes. Two years later, he married that beautiful girl, Arleen. They raised their children in a loving and compassionate home full of great values, much laughter, and a great work ethic. They led by example, and were always seen slow dancing to their favorite song, “You Belong to Me”, every Sunday morning, while making a big breakfast. Frank had an extensive record collection, and music was always playing in the household, especially while shooting a good game of pool. It was mandatory for every member of his family to know how to shoot pool. Frank was also an avid football fan, and never missed a game from the Dallas Cowboys in the ‘70s to the Patriots winning their Super Bowls. He would prepare his famous “Baba subs” for the family, which are Lebanese meat pies, to which NOBODY can replicate, according to his grandchildren.
After his retirement, Frank was able to focus on his passions. His family, his yard, his garden, his grill, and his beloved pool. There was, literally, nothing he couldn’t fix, didn’t have a part for (discontinued or not) or somehow make an improvement on. He was lovingly referred to as “Zoom”, because he always had to show you “what he fixed” or “invented”.
Frank’s greatest passion though, was the love for his children, but especially, his grandchildren. They were the absolute center of his universe, and not a day went by without him calling to say he loved them, make sure they were safe or to tell them “to get the hell home, there’s a storm coming”. His legacy is the path he laid out for all of his family; unconditional love, strength, guidance, listening, understanding, patience, compassion, and most importantly, integrity. Frank made such an impact on all the lives he touched, not just his children, but his children’s friends and their children as well. He was lovingly considered a second Dad to them and an “honorary Baba” to their children.
Frank is survived by his best friend and love of his life, Arleen (MacLean). He was the devoted and beloved father of Cheryl J. Derbes-Freeman and her husband Alton, Frank T. Derbes and his wife Joyce, and Tanya M. Lyons and her husband Michael.
He was the doting and loving Baba to Frankie, Gianna, Aaron, Anthony, and Athena.
He is also survived by his sister Margaret “Peggy” Pignone and her husband Edward, his brother Toffee and his wife Linda, his sister-in-law Connie Derbes, and brother Kimal and his wife Mary. He is also survived by many adoring nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
Frank was predeceased by his brothers Richard “Hus” and Robert H., Sr., sister-in-law Marilyn, sister Carol Ohrenberger, and his baby sister, Jazell N. Derbes.
Interment, with military honors, took place privately at Mount Wollaston Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Frank’s memory may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.