He was born July 5, 1920, in Stephens County, Okla., to Audrey L. Unger Southerland and Ransom R. Southerland.
He was preceded in death by: two sons, Gary R. Southerland and Michael D. Southerland; his parents; and a sister, Winna E. Adams.
Survivors include: his wife of 64 years, Lucy M. Southerland of Rabun Gap; a daughter, Donna J. Pruitt of Rabun Gap; a daughter-in-law, Debra Hertz of Florence, Mass.; two granddaughters, Laura H. Southerland of New York and Erica H. Southerland of Boston; a grandson, Roger Grizzard of Jonesboro; and many nieces and nephews.
Derrell was a member of Dillard United Methodist Church. As a member of AARP, he served for 18 years doing tax counseling for the elderly. He also started a program of Adventures in Learning through the AARP community. Derrell was a member of Friends of the Library and past president of the Lions Club. He enjoyed playing bridge, gardening, golfing, doing woodworking and helping other people.
He served five years as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army during World War II. Most of this time was in the European theater.
He was employed by AT&T for 42 years in various locations under several job titles, including five years building 700 miles of the Boston-Miami cable project. His favorite location was Atlanta. His final and most challenging project was engineer, building the AT&T Southern Area Headquarters at 1200 Peachtree St., N.E., in Atlanta, a fast track project of two years from date of purchase to initial occupancy. It was completed and under budget. He was also an active member of Telephone Pioneers of America and served as president in the 1970s.
A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at Dillard United Methodist Church. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Dillard United Methodist Church. Beck Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. An online guestbook is available at www.beckfuneralhome.com.