Dr. Derrick Leedy
Dr. Derrick J. Leedy, 71, was born in Detroit, Michigan on Friday the 13 of June, 1947 to Estelle and Walter “Wally” Leedy Sr. He grew up in Dearborn, Michigan with his brother Walter Jr. and sister Leanne.
In 1964 Derrick graduated from Edsel Ford high school where he played drums in the marching band and enjoyed pole vaulting on the track team. Later he studied Veterinary Medicine at Michigan State University. His first job after acquiring a DVM Doctorate Degree took him to St. Louis, Missouri where he cared primarily for large farm animals. Then, after returning to his hometown to continue practice at the Dearborn Veterinary Clinic, he moved his family to Nome, Alaska.
In 1977 he started the Nome Veterinary Hospital out of his small apartment. As Derrick’s business slowly grew, so did his love for Alaska, his new home.
Derrick loved travelling and photography. He and his daughter Andrea loved spending time outdoors: Hunting, fishing, berry picking, hiking, skiing, 4-wheeling and camping. He was to eventually fall in love and join life with Martina Paniptchuck, with whom he would enjoy all of these activities. Derrick, Andrea, and Martina later welcomed a new family member, Willow. They were each able to share one another’s passions to a great extent.
Many of Derrick’s passions were born of a servant’s heart. As an advocate for a clean watershed, he was instrumental in the protection of healthy drinking water for the people of Nome. Volunteering was just a normal part of life. A season he took great pride in was during the Iditarod when he was able carry out his practice in assistance with the dog teams. Entities influenced by his service include the City of Nome, 37 years of service as the veterinarian in Nome and the surrounding region, Nome Fire Department, EMT services, the Iditarod, Arctic Broadcasting Association KICY, NSHC, and the Norton Sound Sled Dog Club, to name a few.
He invested much of his time and energy in health and nutrition. As a daily routine, he would fashion himself a simple smoothie of frozen blueberries, water, and the occasional sprinkle of sura. This became his signature “blueberry drink” and he usually made enough for whoever was in the house at the time.
He was continually learning and for this reason he loved the internet. He had a peculiar fascination with things like light bulbs, flashlights and shower heads. He satisfied his need to learn by way of continued research in health, modern technology and vehicles. When outside of Nome you could bet on finding him enjoying the sun on a hike, shopping at a local farm, or at a nearby dealership test driving one of his pre-researched cars. He often knew more about the car in question than the sales person did, but he would respectfully let them do their job.
His journeys would frequently lead to Marysville, Washington where he was able to enjoy life with his grandchildren Malia and Colby, daughter Andrea, and son-in-law Jason.
He also enjoyed a new home in Arizona where local organic farms knew him by name and a sunny hike was just a short drive away. Time spent at the new house was spent enjoying the things in life he loved most.
Derrick has influenced many near and far. He was humble, passionate, classy, caring, gentle and always had a reason to smile. His memories will be cherished. Rest in peace our dearest friend.
Dr. Leedy was preceded in death by his parents Estelle and Walter Leedy Sr., his brother Walter C. Leedy Jr. and his dogs “Derrick’s Belle”, Slick, Kiana, Brownie, Brownie II, and Jewels.
He is survived by his wife Martina Leedy; his daughters Andrea (Leedy) and Jason Steinbacher, Willow (Leedy) and Jonathan Hanson; his grandchildren Colby and Malia Steinbacher; his sister Leanne (Leedy) and Mark Hubbard, his Niece/Nephew Alana and David Hubbard and his dogs Tigaraha and Osa.