Mark S. Derkin, 1948-2014: Company leader widely sought out for advice


Mark S. Derkin, the president of local industrial distributorship Derkin & Wise Inc., which was founded by his father, died Saturday at Hospice of Northwest Ohio in Perrysburg. He was 66.

Mr. Derkin, who died of a type of bone cancer called multiple myeloma, led a life of “quiet impact,” according to his son, Blue. He was a witty man and was easy to talk to.

“He was great with the kids,” Mr. Derkin’s wife, Shelley, said. “They looked up to him. He had a dry, sarcastic wit that they really liked.”

That sense of humor helped Mr. Derkin make friends easily, according to his son.

“The number of people who sought out his advice about pretty much anything always staggered me,” Blue Derkin said of his father.

Mark Derkin’‍s older brother, Scott, praised his brother’s faith, and said there was nothing he wouldn’t do for family.

“He was a man of great conviction and faith,” Scott Derkin said. “He really helped me in that area even though he was younger.

Mr. Derkin was also a member of the local AA recovery community for nearly 30 years, where he made strong connections.

After living in Yakima, Wash., and Columbus for years, Mr. Derkin returned to Monclova in 1981 and began working at Derkin & Wise, where he became president in 1992. His favorite part of the job was visiting and chatting with clients, his son said.

Beyond business, he was a lifelong musician and a fan of classic rock and country, who taught himself guitar and “was always willing to sit in with guys and play, whether it was in church or a coffee shop,” Blue Derkin said.

“One of my main memories of him is just him in the living room quietly strumming,” Blue Derkin said, adding that his father had an encyclopedic knowledge of music from the ’‍60s on.

Mr. Derkin also loved to write, working at the University of Toledo school newspaper during his time there and crafting stories or poems on his own. He wrote sonnets for the weddings of each of his four children.

He also had a sense of adventure, exemplified by his two-week long, cross-country solo motorcycle ride from Ohio to Los Angeles for his son’s wedding in 2008. “It was something that he wanted to do and he finally got the chance,” Blue Derkin said.

Even his son’s name, Blue, was a representation of Mr. Derkin’‍s humor and uniqueness. “It reminded him of a cowboy name,” Blue Derkin said.

He was born June 14, 1948 in Detroit to Hall Derkin and Aurel Pole. He moved to Toledo in 1955, graduated from Bowsher High School in 1966, and attended classes at UT and Ohio State University.

Surviving are his wife of 39 years, Shelley Derkin; his children, Sarah Lillien Perez, Blue Derkin, Emily Star, and Anna Jane Wisniewski, and four grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 6 p.m. on July 25 at the Maison-Dardenne-Walker Funeral Home in Maumee. Family and friends will gather at the funeral home at 5 p.m.

The family suggests tributes to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society or the Chronic Disease Fund.

Contact Stephen Gruber-Miller at:, 419-724-6050, or on Twitter @sgrubermiller.