In memoriam: Jacob Derry– ‘a compassionate young man who made the lives of all he touched better’


Jacob Derry loved his family, friends and dog Jackson with every ounce of his soul. His love was absolute, and when he gave you his attention he was all in, and he let you know it at the end of every interaction he had with you. If you knew him you know this and you can feel it now.

Jacob Derry
Jacob Derry

His parents, Barbara and Bill, were his foundation. They were the source of his:
• boundless love,
• radiant energy,
• artistic ability and creative force,
• athleticism and the aggression with which he attacked his endeavors,
• ready smile and goofy laugh,
• challenging spirit, and
• devotion to exploring faith and the wonder of the natural world.

Barbara and Bill loved and raised Jake with the unconditional devotion that every child deserves, and the result was a compassionate young man who made the lives of all he touched better.

Jacob is one of the Brothers Derry, together with Geoff and Rob, who are the source of tremendous pride, love, and mutual respect for one other. He grew up the youngest of three, and looked up to and wanted to be like his older brothers. He loved to be intimately supportive of them, to be with them, brag about them, work and live with them, party with them, mess with them, share with them, and ski with them. Together they fostered a relentless pursuit of the joy to be had in this life doing the things you love, and doing them with those you love. Jacob lived in the moment, and he worked very hard to enjoy life the way it is meant to be lived.

Jacob was an architect at GGLO where they provided him with incredible mentoring, support and opportunities. The family would like to thank GGLO for all they did for Jake.

At the age of 27, Jacob died in an avalanche on the afternoon of Saturday, March 22nd, skiing Granite Mountain on the west side of Snoqualmie Pass. He was with his backcountry brother, Ben Bressler, and his beloved dog, Jackson. They enjoyed an afternoon hike up the mountain. Jake had just started skiing down when a fracture occurred and the snowpack gave way with Jacob and Jackson who was always on his heels. It was a massive slide 1,500 vertical feet down the mountain. Jackson survived and Ben searched until dark working with the search and rescue volunteers. Jacob’s body was recovered the next day at the bottom of the slide.

Jacob loved to ski. Charging down a mountain with equal parts grace, athleticism and controlled aggression was the joy of his life. Sharing it with family and friends was the ultimate manifestation of his love. Skiing with Jacob, down a powder slope, ripping through the moguls, or pausing to watch him “send” a cliff in the Jackson Hole backcountry, was pure joy.

A Celebration of Life will be held at the Mountaineers Club Auditorium in Magnuson Park at 4 p.m., Friday, April 18.

Please go to Jake’s Facebook timeline and post your memories of Jake.

No flowers. If you would like, please donate to the Washington Environmental Council or King County Search and Rescue.

5 Replies to “In memoriam: Jacob Derry– ‘a compassionate young man who made the lives of all he touched better’”

  1. I never had the joy of meeting Jake but if he was anything like his Dad, he had to be one awesome human being. And that doesn’t add in his Mother (whom I only met briefly at Deer Island in 2004 right before my spouse was shipped off to Iraq) so there’s an entire part of him that I don’t know but can only imagine that if married to Bill she had to be very special. So, my condolences to your family, Bill, and my prayers and wishes to Jake for a life taken too soon but well lived because he was well taught by loving parents. Bless you and your family.
    Regards, Kathy


  2. Jake had an amazing spirit. He was so genuine and sincere in everything he did. And he was never afraid to take a chance. I hadn’t seen Jake since high school, but I never forgot him and I’m so saddens by his sudden passing.


  3. Thank you Bill for being open and telling Jake’s beautiful story. HIs essence is well felt by those even who didn’t know him. What a crushing loss. What a joyous young man. Sending you love.


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