John was born on March 13, 1972 in Norwalk, OH. He held fine arts and education degrees from Bowling Green State University, Brigham Young University and The Ohio State University.
John married Lori Davis in 1998, and the couple adopted twin daughters, Lydia and Charlotte, in 2011.
John held art education positions both at the high school and college levels, and was a frequent contributor and lecturer on disability studies and art education. A highly talented artist, his paintings, sculptures, jewelry, ceramics, mixed media, and glasswork are cherished by countless colleagues, family, and friends.
John enjoyed running, biking, and downhill skiing, regularly competing in marathons, ultramarathons, triathlons, mountain bike races, and road bike races. He also enjoyed singing and over the years was a member of several professional choral ensembles. John was an avid sports fan following everything from the Tour de France to basketball to NCAA football (GO BUCKEYES!). His passions were many: his cats, cappuccino, philosophy and religion, choral music, motorcycles, and traveling, just to name a few.
In addition to his wife and children, John is survived by his parents, Tom Derby of Norwalk, OH and Laura Perez (nee Stewart) of Ypsilanti, MI, brother, Bill (Paula Roediger) Derby of Port Chester, NY, sister, Elizabeth Borda (nee Derby) of Saline, MI, maternal grandmother, Mary Louise Stewart (nee Laning) of Norwalk, OH, aunts and uncles, Chuck Derby of Norwalk, OH, Bob Derby of Bucyrus, OH, Gail Schneider (nee Derby) of Norwalk, OH, Martha Stewart of Lakewood, OH, and Jack (Elizabeth) Stewart of Bloomington, IN, nephew, David Zinn of Ypsilanti, MI, and many beloved cousins across the country. He is preceded in death by his paternal grandparents and maternal grandfather.
A memorial service celebrating John’s life will be held in October. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the National Art Education Foundation or the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI).