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Frank Derickson, former Chester mayor, dies at 93

  • Frank E. Derickson

    Frank E. Derickson

updated: 5/26/2022 1:02 PM

Frank E. Derickson, 93, of Chester, Illinois, passed away at 8:06 a.m. on Sunday, May 22, 2022 at Cedarhurst Senior Living in Sparta, Illinois.

He was born to the late Cardel "Dirk" and Rose (nee Hauner) Derickson on Aug. 8, 1928 in Murphysboro, Illinois. His family later moved to Chester and has resided there ever since.

Frank attended St. Mary's Catholic Grade School and Chester High School in Chester. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on Sept. 15, 1948 during the Korean conflict and was discharged as a sergeant on Sept. 14, 1951.

On Nov. 15, 1952, Frank married Betty Shemoney in Piggott, Arkansas. They raised two daughters in Chester -- Vicki and Brenda. Married 60 years, Betty passed away Aug. 15, 2013.

Over the years, Frank dabbled in various businesses and ventures -- restaurants, oil wells, farms -- as he had a mind for numbers. That might be why he enjoyed the challenge of horse racing. He and Betty would make yearly trips to Hot Springs, Arkansas where they would share their enjoyment with other local couples (he loved those 8 to 1 odds). In later years he also found a friendly Texas Holdem poker game to his liking. Probably had the Cardinals baseball game on at the same time.

But it was government service that was Frank's true calling.

From 1959 to 1963, Frank served as Chester city clerk and was a two-term city alderman from 1977 to 1985. Professionally, Frank was the business administrator as Chester Mental Health Center when he retired in 1985. That same year, he was elected and consecutively served 16 years (four terms) as mayor of Chester.

His administration's accomplishments during that run were numerous and he was proud of such -- a new Water Plant and Sewage Treatment Plant just to name a couple.

Frank was a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Chester. He was a lifetime member of the V.F.W. Post #3553 and served as Post Commander in 1959 and 1960. He was also a Chester American Legion Alva Courier Post #487 lifetime member.

He was a charter member of Chester Eagles Club Aerie #3252 and a member of the Chester Masonic Lodge #72 and Ainad Shriners. He served as parade co-chairman of Chester's sesquicentennial celebration in 1979 and continued serving for a few more years in that position when the celebration continued annually as the Popeye Picnic.

Frank was grateful for the recognition bestowed on him when the Chester Chamber of Commerce honored him as Citizen of the Year in 2001. He was even more proud to have been able to share all his accomplishments with his family.

Frank is survived by two daughters, Vicki (Tom) Search of Chester and Brenda (Greg) Gallagher of Atlanta, Georgia; four grandchildren, Tyson (Amber) Search, Courtney (Richard "Rip") Rowan, Bradley Gallagher and Colin (Kaitlyn) Gallagher; great-grandchildren Reagan Search, Hudson Search, Max Rowan, Brooks Rowan, Sutton Gallagher and Wells Gallagher; sister-in-law, Melba Shemoney Mifflin of Murphysboro; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; wife; two brothers, Don and James "Jimmy" Derickson; two brothers-in-law, D. Joe Mifflin and James "Bernard" Shemoney; two sisters-in-law, Barbara Derickson and Cleo Shemoney; one nephew, James D. Mifflin; and the many friends and acquaintances Frank appreciated while serving his country and the city he was truly proud to have been able to promote and to have had influence in its history.

The funeral service will begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 28, 2022 at Pechacek Funeral Homes in Chester, officiated by the Rev. Scott Weiner. It will be followed by interment at Evergreen Cemetery in Chester.

Visitation will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, May 27 and again from 8 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, at the funeral home.

Memorials are suggested to First Presbyterian Church in Chester.

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