VP for Communications
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 8, 2015
E.L. and Sue Derr were always interested in education, and they were interested in DCC going back to the mid 1970’s. Their children, Bob, David, and Elizabeth, were very involved in the youth group at Haltom City Christian Church in Haltom City, Texas. Although Mr. and Mrs. Derr met and married while at Texas Tech, their son David decided to go into the ministry, and chose Dallas Christian College – and the Derr Family connection began. Haltom City Christian Church, one of the longest supporting churches of DCC, planted a church in Bedford, TX, which later became Compass Christian Church. CCC also became a strong supporting church. Bob Derr has served as chairman of the elders at Compass, David married Monica Hughes, also a DCC graduate, and they served in the ministry of several different churches in his career, and Elizabeth married an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Pat Peters, who has served as trustee of Dallas Christian College.
From humble beginnings, E.L. worked to build a construction company and Sue taught piano and music lessons. They were both hard working people who loved each other deeply. Using determination and integrity, E.L.’s company began to grow, winning the contracts to build large structures like Texas Stadium. Eventually, the Derr Construction Company would build other famous structures, like AT&T Stadium, The Ballpark in Arlington, and Reliant Field in Houston. One of the stories about E.L.’s hard work was when it was snowing heavily in Dallas – E.L. called one of his foremen and said, “Man, it’s snowing so bad out there, no one should drive in this weather!” The foreman thought he was going to get to stay home, but E.L. said, “I’ll come and get you!” That story was told at E.L.’s funeral. E.L. suffered from an extended illness, and Sue cared for him throughout that time.
Throughout their lives, the Derr Family were strong supporters of DCC – major donors valuing Christian higher education. Year after year E.L. and Sue would share a part of their success, which in turn would help DCC to continue ending the year in the black. Mrs. Derr carried on her husband’s legacy of supporting Christian higher education. Each year different presidents and leaders of DCC would take the opportunity of going to visit Sue. Mark Worley said, “Going to visit Mrs. Derr was always a highlight of my year. I loved to take students with me, just to meet her and sing to her, play for her, or just sit and talk to her – to be influenced by her. The students would always say, ‘If you need someone to go with you and visit her again, let me know!’ They were always impressed with her stories – about meeting E.L. and their first date, about humble beginnings and hard work, about teaching music – and especially about her deep love and pride for her children.”
President Smith at Celebration 65, “I want you to know tonight that E.L. and Sue Derr have made an impact on DCC that many will never know about – but God does, and I do. I did not have the privilege of meeting Mr. Derr, but I did have the opportunity to meet Mrs. Derr. I told her how grateful I was for her and her husband’s faithful, and significant support of DCC throughout the years. I told her that we would like to honor her in the near future, and she said there was no need for that. I was struck by her humility and her gentle, gracious demeanor. Mrs. Derr, in our last meeting together, reminded me of the importance of Christian education for students.” Not long after that meeting, Sue became ill and passed away, with her family by her side. Even after her death, Sue helped DCC to do what she was annually concerned about – “helping DCC end the year in the black” – by including the College in her will.
E.L. and Sue Derr were not just builders of structures, they were builders of lives. In their honor, DCC would like to announce that the education department has a new name – The E.L. and Sue Derr Department of Education. Dallas Christian College will forever be grateful to the Derr Family.
The mission of Dallas Christian College is to educate and mentor students to be people of influence, under God’s influence, for a life of influence.