Master craftsman, “Bob the Barber” Derr, of Fountain Hills, AZ died in the early morning on Sunday June 14.
Born Robert Allen Derr in Pennsylvania’s Oley Valley, August 12, 1957, he was the son of Carl Derr and Mabel Levengood where he enjoyed his childhood working on the farm.
After graduating from Oley Valley High, an accomplished percussionist, he took his talented hands to Lehigh Barber College to hone a craft that was as practical as it was artistic.
His career started in a barber shop and ended in a barber shop, but with a journey in between that sent him off to found his own salon, Hair Craft, produced his own barber educational workshops and eventually around the world competing in and organizing hairstyling competitions for International Beauty Shows. He also developed a clever haircutting comb that was manufactured and distributed by Pivot Point, Intl. While accomplishing these things, he still remained grounded while contributing his time and efforts to the Oley Valley Community Fair, year after year.
In 1999, accepted a position with International Cosmetology Expo as Director of Education to which he relocated his family to AZ.
Missing the simplicity of being his own boss, in 2005 he opened The Barber Shoppe on Saguaro – originally decorated with the many pieces of vintage beauty and barber memorabilia he collected throughout his career, but slowly grew to house an eclectic collection of clues to who he was.
Hard to miss are the mounted trophies from his and his friends’ and wife’s hunts. He was an avid outdoorsman, hunter, and gun toting member of the NRA. Bob was also a member of his local chapters of the Sons of the AMVets and Sons of the American Legion.
Behind the counter is his wall of accolades and recognition from an industry appreciative of his dedication and his mastery of tonsorial artistry.
Humorous signs throughout the shop didn’t just announce his political views, but his ability to remain lighthearted even in the face of serious issues.
Stickers on the mirrors show off the university alma maters of his children, Brendon and Devin, and his pride in seeing what they have accomplished.
A Johnny Seven O.M.A. hides high on the wall as well, because he knew that you can never overspend on fun for yourself and for those you love.
Even the shop itself, much of it his own handiwork, speaks about his desire to create and appreciate beauty. If you were ever lucky enough to be treated to one of his meals – smoked meats, homemade pizza or over a campfire – you can attest to his quiet mastery of making something beautiful (even if he couldn’t ever do it with his tomato plants).
His wife of 30 years Christine (Chedrick); his kids, Brendon and Devin; his mother, Mabel Yoder, and brother Dave and countless other family and friends survived him. He always thought he would do more with his life, but he truly touched a lot of people in a way he’ll never know. He was a thoughtful, insightful, and introspective gentleman who would leave everything better than he found it.
Bob was a great man and he will be forever missed and loved by so many.
In lieu of flowers, please tip your barber.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Robert Allen Derr, please visit our floral store.