Friday, May 7, 2010

SBU’s Dr. Bob Derryberry Remembered Fondly

Southwest Baptist University News Release
Contact: Sharina Smith, Office of Marketing & Communications
417-328-1803 /

BOLIVAR, Mo. – The late Dr. Bob Derryberry was remembered fondly at Southwest Baptist University during the recent annual banquet celebrating the Pi Kappa Delta (PKD) chapter’s award-winning season.

PKD is a forensics honorary for undergraduate speech and debate students, and SBU’s chapter has enjoyed many years of national, regional, and state recognitions under the direction of the beloved Dr. Derryberry. Faculty, students, and alumni honored Dr. Derryberry’s wishes for the banquet to be “about the team” and not about him, but it was evident that his influence on the SBU PKD chapter will be remembered for years to come.

Following are some remembrances of “Dr. D” from students, colleagues, alumni, and friends:

Dr. Bob R. Derryberry
July 19, 1937~April 13, 2010

Dr. Bob R. Derryberry’s life was a celebration of words. While his life ended Tuesday, April 13, 2010, at the age of 72, the celebration continues in the lives of his family, his friends and colleagues, and his many students, past and present Bob invested in words — and words endure.

Bob was born July 19, 1937, in Wardville, Okla., to parents Byron and Trudie Elmore Derryberry.

His love of words led him to graduate school studies, and he earned an M.A. from the University of Arkansas and later, a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri. This advanced study of speech communication honed his thinking, writing and speaking, and he delighted in opportunities to study with professors such as Loren Reid.

Bob Derryberry married Joyce Nettles on December 24, 1958. They had a 51-year marriage filled with words spoken in and with love.

Professor Derryberry inspired others to use words well during his 46-year career at Southwest Baptist University. As director of forensics, Bob “Dr. D.” Derryberry led speech and debate teams to more than 20 state championships in Missouri and more than 15 superior team ratings at national Pi Kappa Delta tournaments. As a speech professor, he devoted countless hours to hundreds of students at all levels of experience and confidence, guiding students toward better speaking, better thinking and better listening.

From his academic study of words to his lively interpersonal dialogues with colleagues and students, Bob Derryberry’s life was a celebration of words. But perhaps the most important words to Bob were those spoken in kindness — his standard for speech at its best.

Bob is survived by his wife, Joyce, of the home; his daughter and son-in-law, Marian Derryberry and Adam Ackerman, and grandson Miles Derryberry Ackerman, all of West Newton, Mass.; his daughter and son-in-law, Elisa and Jim Fish, and granddaughters Christy and Emme Fish, all of Morrisville, and Julie Reynolds of Ft Worth, Texas.

Bob was the last living child of Byron and Trudie Derryberry. Three brothers and four sisters preceded him in death, Buel, Byron Jr., Wallace Christopher, Janice, Betty Clarice, Jackie Williams and Inez Wilkins. Bob’s extended family, friends and students will miss him greatly.

Contributions may be made to the Bob and Joyce Tradition of Excellence Scholarship Fund or the Bob Derryberry Endowed Chair Fund at Southwest Baptist University, 1600 University Ave., Bolivar MO 65613.

A celebration of Bob’s life was held Saturday, April 17, in the sanctuary of the First Baptist Church of Bolivar with visitation at 9:30 a.m., followed by a memorial service at 10:30. Burial was in Greenwood Cemetery under the direction of Murray Funeral Home.


Southwest Baptist University is a leader among private universities in truly integrating Christ-centered academic pursuits with comprehensive professional programs at an affordable price. Since 1878, the faculty and staff have created a caring, academic community to prepare students to be servant leaders in a global society. The University has been named one of America’s Best Christian Colleges® for 13 consecutive years, one of America’s 100 Best College Buys® for 14 consecutive years, and it has been named among institutions with America’s Best College Scholarships ® for the past three years by Institutional Research and Evaluation, Inc. For more information, visit

SBU’s Office of Marketing & Communications is available to news media 24/7 at 417-399-7918.