TULSA, Okla. — The community of Owasso and Oklahoma lawmakers are remembering a doctor who drowned on Oologah Lake.
Dr. Dale Derby was trying to retrieve his boat late yesterday when he went under and never resurfaced.
Dr. Derby was a husband, father, doctor, and at one point even an Oklahoma lawmaker representing Tulsa and Rogers counties.
“I couldn’t believe it just because I had literally sat down and talked with Dr. Derby literally four hours before,” Scott Lasson, CEO of Bailey Medical Center said.
An entire community is at a loss for words after learning about the tragedy.
“It appears that the victim and his wife were unloading a boat at a boat ramp and the vessel wouldn’t start so the wind was blowing a little bit and the vessel came separated from the trailer, so it started drifting across the lake away from the boat ramp,” Trooper Ryan Griffith with Oklahoma Highway Patrol said.
Griffith said the 72-year-old was attempting to swim to his disabled and drifted boat when he went under and never resurfaced. He said Northwest Fire Crew members recovered his body just hours later.
“Dr. Derby was truly a great man, no words can express how truly sorry I am for what’s happened," Lasson said.
Derby was one of the founders of the Bailey Medical Center in Owasso, where he worked as medical director of the anesthesiology program.
“He was highly respected, there’s some staff members at the hospital that have been there since day one alongside him for 15 years, so he will be greatly missed,” Lasson said.
His legacy goes far beyond the medical community. Derby served in the State House for District 74 from 2016 to 2018. House Speaker Charles McCall and other representatives extended their condolences to his family.
McCall described him as a man of honesty, character, and integrity. The current representative for District 74, Mark Vancuren saying in part:
"He was a great champion of many causes of our city and the state of Oklahoma. He is a friend to many, an outstanding physician, and a dedicated family man. Whether it was to his country, his patients, or his church, Dr. Derby dedicated his life to serving others. Our prayers and deepest condolences go out to his family."
“We loved him, we love his family, and just anything we can do for them, we would be happy to,” Lasson said.
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