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Another fond farewell
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As I was busy typing out last week’s missive regarding the passing of my dear ol’ pal Aunt Gay, I got a phone call from one of my sibs that an old friend of the family, Dr. Frank Dermody, had passed away suddenly.


I felt like Larry, getting whacked on both sides of the head by Moe.

“What next?” I asked myself. Or I guess, “who next” would be more like it, as I’ve heard it said that death comes in threes.

I don’t want to think about it, because it usually someone you never expect to go, like the last two who did.

Dr. Dermody was almost like an uncle to us when we were kids, as he was always on the golf course with my dad. I think Pops thought of Frank as a kid brother, both coming from the Boston area.

Frank’s childhood was significantly different from my dad’s — his was much more “privileged” than Pop’s — but that didn’t bother my dad in the least. They just instantly clicked.

There was about a 10-year difference in their ages, but their connection lasted right up to the last.

On the golf course, it was never hard to tell who was who.

Dr. Dermody was always dressed like a professional golfer, always smartly attired, and then my dad would walk up and stand next to him, looking a bit like Klem Kadiddlehopper (for those of you who remember Red Skelton), wearing plaid shorts, a striped Penguin golf shirt, black socks, and sometimes his Sunday best Florsheims. Oh wait ... those were his golf shoes. They just looked like a pair of Florsheims. And of course, Pops had some kind of floppy hat with a striped band around it that totally contrasted with the rest of his outfit, and his eyeglasses had the flip up clip on sunglasses attachment.

Snarky dresser.

I used to cringe thinking that Pops was allowed to go out of the house looking like that, but it became such a huge joke in the family and among the folks who knew him, that we would almost insist he go out in public like that all the time.

When Dr. Dermody arrived at Fort Stewart back in the late ’60s, he came with his young bride, Lois, who my mother instantly adored, and their young son, Joey.

Dr. Dermody was assigned to the dental clinic on post, where Pop also worked.

Dr. Dermody immediately set to work getting the first pediatric specific clinic set up for the young military kids.

He used to come to Fort Stewart Elementary on a regular basis and have the kids come in to the little office they had set up for him for exams, and would demonstrate the proper way to clean teeth.

He was so good with all the kids, and I was delighted to see him in the hallway, wearing his stark white lab coat. I could never stop myself from waving and calling out to him. He always came over to me with a big smile and pinched my cheek as hard as he could. I hated that, but loved the opportunity to speak with him.

Dr. Dermody was also a man whose faith ran deep. He was very devoted to his church, and was always involved with one program or another. At his local church, he taught CCD, served as lecturer and eucharistic minister, made hospital and nursing home visits, and participated in various other activities in his parish, serving on several organizations and committees.

He donated his time to the Indian River County (Fla.) Health Department Dental clinic for over 32 years, the Vero Beach VNA Hospice House, the Head Start Coalition, the Baptist Mobile Dental Clinic, Jesse’s Children in the Dominican Republic, and Habitat for Humanity.

Hard to believe that a man who was as busy as he always seemed to have time for his family, but his family always came first.

He and his wife had three beautiful children, and adopted a fourth little beauty into their fold. He had eight grandchildren, all of whom were the apple of their ‘Grampy’s eye.

He was the kind of person you couldn’t help but like immediately, as he just seemed to radiate goodness.

He had a warm laugh, and was always ready with a joke.

Not that I wanted this to sound like an obituary, but having known someone like him makes me want to be a better person, because that is all he ever wanted for anyone.

See ya, Dr. Derm, I hope they’ve kept the back nine open for ya!