Special to The Lake Report
Derek Shervill, a longtime resident of Niagara-on-the-Lake, died suddenly on Oct. 8 and residents of Chautauqua lost a longtime friend and neighbour.
Derek, 88, pipe in hand, could be regularly seen walking down Vincent Avenue to Ryerson Park with his dog Biscuit, or “Bicky” for short, greeting people along the way.
He spent a great deal of time in the park, strolling along the lake, sitting quietly at a bench or talking at length to other park-goers. Over the years, the dogs changed but they were always named Bicky.
Derek grew up in London during the Second World War. If asked, he would talk about air raid sirens, and about hearing the German planes overhead and the eerie silence before the bombs fell.
Sometimes, he would have to stay overnight if he had been at a friend’s house when a bombing raid started. He had been an enthusiastic member of the sea cadets and had served in the British army after the war.
In his early 20s, Derek met Pauline at a neighbouring community centre in southeast London, where he asked Pauline to accompany him to a wedding as their first date. In April 1955, they themselves were married. They commuted via the Tube from their apartment to different parts of London where he worked as a compositor and she apprenticed as a wigmaker.
The couple moved to Toronto in 1957 seeking further opportunity. Derek continued to work in the printing industry and for the last 20 years or so of his career lived and worked at a commercial printing company that he co-owned in Leaside.
The family moved to Niagara-on-the-Lake about 25 years ago. Although a long way from home, they never lost their appetite for fish and chips, which they got weekly from the Legion or the Sandtrap.
Derek and Pauline were members of the Niagara-on-the-Lake Lawn Bowling Club for many years, where Derek held a variety of executive positions, including president.
Before a tournament he would often be at the club early to set up the equipment, then work with a partner to run the competition. One member recalls Derek’s sense of humour always made it easy to work with him. Derek was made a life member at the 2019 annual meeting in recognition of his contributions to the club.
Physical fitness was important to Derek. He lifted weights and did pushups in his downstairs man cave during the commercials when his favourite TV programs were on.
A few years ago, a neighbour bought a new snowblower and did a Good Samaritan deed by clearing Derek’s driveway. While thankful for the gesture, Derek told the neighbour to stop and scolded him for depriving Derek of the exercise.
And speaking of the driveway, one always knew it was Derek’s because he left his van, with the custom licence plate “Sherv,” on it long after the van ceased to be roadworthy.
In addition to his wife Pauline, he is survived by his son Drew (Jane), daughter Kim, grandchildren Natalie, Liam and Tatum, and great-grandson Rya.