Cover photo for Jeannine Doris (Smith) Derks's Obituary
Jeannine Doris (Smith) Derks Profile Photo
1934 Jeannine 2021

Jeannine Doris (Smith) Derks

September 20, 1934 — September 14, 2021

Jeannine Doris Derks passed peacefully in the early morning hours of September 14 at Glen Arbor Hospice in Battle Creek, MI. She was born September 20, 1934, to Stella Reeves Smith and her husband in Michigan Center, MI.

A graduate of Jackson High School, she earned her Master of Education at Michigan State University. She was an adventurous, liberated woman—a wild child of her time. She was also principled: She fought at length to have her teaching checks made out to herself and not her husband. She was a fierce advocate for quality education and the arts with strong opinions and a great willingness to volunteer with groups like AAUW and the school board. Her children were raised with every advantage she felt mattered from schooling, music, sports and travel to a home full of laughter and love.

Jeannine married Richard Derks in 1957. Her greatest friend and companion for over 60 years, together they raised kids, built houses, traveled the globe, and became well-regarded members of the community and dear friends to many. Richard passed early last year. Jeannine is survived by Duffy (Sharon) Derks, Eric (Robin Taylor) Derks, and Cassandra (Carter) Kent; six grandchildren (Zechariah, Malachi, Shea, Nash, Benson and Stella); and three great grandchildren.

The family is planning a celebration to honor Jeannine and Richard to be announced at a future date.

Arrangements are by Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home & Cremation Care. Personal messages for the family may be placed here at


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