The ALS has lost a member of our family. Derrick Crofoot, a senior material specialist, died earlier this month. The Crofoots are a Berkeley Lab family—Derrick’s brother, Garret, also works at Berkeley Lab, and their father, Mike, worked at the Lab until his retirement. Derrick’s warmth and friendly personality played an important role in making the ALS feel like a family. We grieve together.
Derrick joined the Lab in 2005 and came to the ALS as a member of the Shipping and Receiving Group in 2006. “He was very excited about working at the ALS,” Gary Giangrasso, logistics senior supervisor, recalled. Over his 14 years at the ALS, Derrick quickly established a reputation as the “go-to” person when help was needed. Staff, students, vendors, and visitors all came to rely on his ability to put a smile on people’s faces and help with whatever was needed—from shipping high-value laboratory equipment to helping decorate for the annual ALS holiday party (and everything in between). “Derrick was friendly, personable, and extremely knowledgeable,” Clency Easterling, a material handler and Shipping and Receiving colleague, said, “and he was always ready to teach. I’ll miss Derrick walking through the door first thing in the morning with that big smile and saying, ‘Doctor, Doctor, good morning.’”
Many around the ALS fondly remember connecting with Derrick. Jason Templer, a senior administrator, explained, “He had a unique ability to relate to everyone individually—he could talk to you about sports, fishing, cars, family, weather. He always made you feel that you mattered.” Jane Tanamachi, a recently retired program manager for ALS-ENABLE, added, “He would stop by my office and grab a piece of candy (he had a bit of a sweet tooth) or I would go down to Building 7 to ask him about his interpretation of the latest sports event. We always had fun conversations! He had such a positive attitude and enthusiasm for everything he did.” Steve Rossi, deputy for business operations, also remembered Derrick’s positive attitude, saying, “He was always a gracious winner when he beat coworkers at fantasy football.”
Underscoring everyone’s memories was Derrick’s love for his family. Giangrasso said, “During the time he worked for me, he had all three of his children, whom he loved so very much,” noting the photos Derrick would share after numerous trips to Disneyland. “Derrick’s number one priority and joy in his life were his three children, Jordanna, Ahlina, and Samy, and he was always striving to be the best father and provider that he could be for them,” Templer said. Tanamachi put it best: “His face would light up when he talked about them.”
A friend of the family has set up a GoFundMe to cover expenses for Derrick’s children. There is a separate fund to help defray the costs of Derrick’s funeral. We also invite the Berkeley Lab community to visit this memorial website and share memories of Derrick.
What I Will Remember
by Mike Crofoot (Derrick’s father)
His smile. Remember his smile. It said so much about who Derrick was.
What I hope to bring into my life from my son’s is how he would always brighten a room when he walked in.
When leaving he would always say “love you.” These are qualities I loved about him. Qualities I want for myself because of seeing them in my son.
I’ll mention a few of the many enjoyments Derrick had in life.
Coaching his son’s Little League teams.
Seeing his girls excel in cheer.
Most team sports, including fantasy football.
He was just learning bocce ball while playing tournaments with three generations of his family.
He loved to fish (not sure where he got that). I can see him with all his kids catching 6” Blue Gills and having a time as if it were a trophy salmon.
Fantasy football, my eyes would glaze over with all the facts and data he had on his players.
Coaching, he made the kids on Samy’s Little League team better. Players would learn, but more than that, he helped them to have fun in the game.
Derrick liked to talk. A trait I’m sure he acquired from his mother. The pleasure I took from watching and hearing a son and mother (my son and wife) talk for any reason, at anytime, about the things that make up life gave me a joy and pride I have never expressed.
I’m sad Derrick was so young. He lost a future with his children. With all the many people he touched. He lost fishing trips with me, talks with his mom. Playing sports with his brother, laughs with his sister, and gatherings with his extended family that share only good memories of him.
Derrick’s life gave our family many wonderful moments, but the best thing he ever did was to be a loving, caring, father to my three wonderful grandchildren, Jordanna (14), Ahlina (11), and Samy (8). Derrick treasured his children above all else. The kids are always a pleasure to be around, just like their dad. They all make life better for others.
I’m not saying all was perfect. I am saying so much was.