Paul John Derse
July 31, 1935 – December 3, 2018
Paul John Derse, 83, of Granger, passed away at Bell Tower Health and Rehabilitation Center on December 3, 2018. Paul was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on July 31, 1935 to Arthur and Bertha (Saniter) Derse. He attended St John de Nepomuc Elementary and Washington High School where he was captain of the golf team. Among his schoolmates at Washington were the late actor Gene Wilder, former Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, and former U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, Herb Kohl. He married MaryMargaret Catherine Dempsey, the love of his life, on August 10, 1957, in Milwaukee, and enjoyed 61 years of marriage.
Paul spent his career in the grocery and convenience store businesses. He began working for the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company (A&P) as a teenager and was promoted to store manager at the young age of 23. After several years with A&P, he took a job with Allied Supermarkets which brought Paul and his family to the South Bend area. He later worked for Ashland Oil and B&R Oil working with their convenience store chains in the region.
Paul and his family moved to Granger in 1972. He was an early member of the Knollwood Country Club, to which he belonged for more than 30 years, winning several golf tournaments and presiding over the popular Wednesday “Derse Scramble.” Paul was an avid ND football and ND women’s basketball fan. His six children attended South Bend schools, all graduating from Clay High School. The family belonged to St. Pius X Catholic Church.
Paul was preceded in death by his wife Maggie. He is survived by his sisters; Ruth (Derse) Polyak and Rita (Derse) Riedl, along with his six children: Edward (Carolyn) Derse of Los Angeles, California; Colleen Derse of South Bend, Indiana; Margaret Sleeper of Phoenix, Arizona; Maureen Derse of Maricopa, Arizona; Patrick Derse of Chicago, Illinois; and Kathleen (Greg) Roth of Oakbank, Manitoba, Canada. Paul was the proud grandfather of eight: Jarrett, Kelsey, Connor, Grady, Joshua, Trevor, Elodie Grace, and Fionna Mae.
The children of Paul and Maggie extend a special thank you to their wonderful neighbors in the Greenview North subdivision who watched all of them grow up, were the best of friends, and who lovingly cared for their parents in recent years. A very special thank you to Jan Dippell and Kathy Garbodin, your kindness and support will be forever cherished. Our profound thanks to the Bell Tower staff who made a difficult two years much easier by embracing our parents as their family.
Friends may visit with the family from 9:30-10:30 am on Wednesday, December 12 at St. Pius X Catholic Church, 52553 Fir Rd., Granger. A Mass of Christian Burial, presided by Msgr. William Schooler, will be held at 10:30 am with a luncheon to follow. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial contributions be made in Paul’s name to St. Pius X Catholic Church. Bubb Funeral Chapel is assisting the family with arrangements.