Derek passed away peacefully in Portland, Oregon, after a long illness, with his father and mother at his side.
Derek was born in San Leandro, California, and grew up in Hayward and San Jose, before moving to Dallas, Texas, with his parents in 1979. The family moved back to Dublin in 1985 and finally settled in Pleasanton.
Derek was a graduate of Foothill High School class of 1994. Years ago, he set a goal to graduate college. He recently graduated from Portland State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in arts and letters. He was proud to be a student at PSU, and he learned so much while attending this fine school. He had plans to continue is college career at PSU by pursuing a master's degree.
Derek enjoyed all sports and was an avid fan of the Bay Area teams (A’s, Giants, 49ers, Raiders, Warriors and Sharks). Baseball was his true love and passion. He played baseball in Dublin and Pleasanton Little League, at Foothill High School, at Ohlone College and at Hawaii Pacific University, where he earned a baseball scholarship. He was an excellent pitcher in high school and college and had a wide range of pitches (two and four seam fastball, curve ball, slider, change-up and a split finger). He was a pitching disciple of Coach Paul Moore, Ohlone baseball coach and athletic director, and Derek credited Coach Moore with his pitching success.
He was a self-taught expert angler, and Shadow Cliffs Lake in Pleasanton was a second home to him. He loved to fish for catfish, bass and trout and would usually catch the biggest fish each time we went fishing with his family and friends.
In high school, he mastered the art of creating clay pottery. He threw countless pounds of clay on the potter wheel and created many unique and creative pieces. He continued his love of pottery into his initial college years.
Derek was a U.S. Navy veteran, spending time on the USS Thomas Gates as an operational specialist stationed at Virginia Beach, Virginia. He was proud of the time that he served his country and continued to love the United States of America for the rest of his life.
He enjoyed a wide range of music – rock, blues, soul, reggae, classical and Christian, and Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra were two of his favorite singers.
Derek was baptized at the Portland Foursquare Christian Church on Easter Sunday 2015. His acceptance of Jesus Christ provided him a solid foundation that led him to share Bible verses with his family and friends.
Derek decided to go back to college later in his life to achieve a goal that he had set years before. It was a difficult transition for him at first, but a challenge that he met head on. During his time at PSU, he became a dedicated student and his writing skills improved dramatically. He loved to write poetry, short stories and essays. The PSU professors, counselors, administrative office and his personal physician, Dr. Frank, were very helpful to Derek in his pursuit of his college degree. Derek was appreciative of the support he received, and he was proud to be a PSU Viking.
He loved to cook and enjoyed cooking for others. He loved to share his dishes with his friends and neighbors. He had a big heart and was always willing to help anyone in need, especially during his years in Portland.
Derek received his diploma from Portland State University on Thursday, Sept. 3, in a special ceremony in his hospital room. “Pomp and Circumstance” was hummed, and his father, mother, Nurse Sophia and Chaplain Todd participated in the ceremony. Tears of joy filled the room, and Derek knew that he left this earth as a college graduate - an amazing accomplishment! Derek was promoted to heaven the next morning, Friday, Sept. 4, 2020.
He is survived by his loving father, David Ott and wife Laura Melchionne of Pleasanton; devoted mother, Carol Haines Olson and husband Arne Olson of Pleasanton; sister, Monica Meidberg of Pleasanton; brothers, Jordan Ott and Joshua Ott of Pleasanton; nieces, Caroline Meidberg and Lucy Meidberg of Pleasanton; Uncle John M. Ott and Aunt Barbie Ott of Boise, Idaho; Aunt Sue Solis Haines of Pleasanton; Aunt Patti Keeling-Haines of Nipomo, California; as well as the countless cousins in California, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and across the USA. Derek loved his family. He is preceded by his grandparents, John G. Ott and Dorothy Ott of San Lorenzo, California; grandparents, Kenneth E. Haines and Lorraine Haines of San Lorenzo, California; Aunt Christine Ott of Hayward, California; and Uncle Kenneth M. Haines of Half Moon Bay, California.
Derek is with the Lord now. He has no more sorrow and no more pain, and he has a healthy mind, body and spirit. Rest in peace to our dear and loving Derek.
A celebration of life will be held later this year. If you feel so inclined, the family would be honored to have donations sent to City Team Portland at www.cityteam.org/portland or by contacting Dave Sundman, director, at 503-231-9334, or to Tuality Healthcare Foundation at tualityfoundation.org or by calling 503-681-1170.