A competitive wrestler and coach for 19 years, Dale Derr won 85% of his collegiate matches at the former Kutztown State College, now Kutztown University, where he earned NCAA All American status in his senior year and was inducted into the university’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 1990. He continued his wrestling with the US Air Force development programs in freestyle and Greco-Roman, earning several regional titles in Europe, wrestling for a very reputable club in Spain, and making the Air Force national team. As he moved with his Air Force career, he helped coach disadvantaged high school teams that produced many league and state
champions. He was successful on the mat, but his leadership extended beyond the mat to promote wrestling to many boys, including finding ways to outfit them with uniforms and shoes. The unmovable force at 90 kilos was always on the move in support of our sport. Derr recently retired from his 39-year career and served last in his capstone role as the Berks County Director of Veterans Affairs, at which he served approximately 30,000 military veterans and the spouses of deceased veterans with the information about benefits and services. Further, he helped them navigate complex application systems at the federal and state governments, plus access to the many community funds that are available to them. He was appointed to his role after a career as a military officer and years of service to the county courts and local non-profits in support of people aging in place or living with disabilities. Derr’s role in providing military relief to people following disasters and major accidents was felt across the globe. He further became an expert in the on-sequence management in preparation for incidents and war involving weapons of mass destruction, a much-needed talent in case of such disaster. Derr retired from the military and made his return to Berks County, Pennsylvania, where he made an immediate and lasting impact on our community through his court and human service roles. He has always been focused on the plight of disadvantaged people and he can really get things done in support of our fellow citizens. Derr is married to the former Susan Johnson of Kutztown. They presently reside near Reading, Pennsylvania. Derr and Susan have three children: US Navy Lieutenant Commander Alison Maruca, who is married to US Navy Lieutenant Commander Nicholas Maruca. They are stationed at the Pentagon. Their son US Marine Corps Captain is stationed at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, where he flies the AH-1 Z, Super Cobra helicopter gunships as part of Marine Corps air-ground operations. His daughter, Victoria, lives with Down syndrome, but she works at Prospectus Berco in Reading, and lives semi-independently through supports provided by the same firm.