(Editor's Note: The following obituary was written by the great aunt of Derrick Gaines. Dolores Piper submitted the information to Patch for publication. South San Francisco local editor Drew Himmelstein wrote of Gaines' life in a .)
Derrick Louis-Lamar Gaines was born on September 20, 1996, in San Francisco, CA. He died on June 5, 2012 in South San Francisco at the age of fifteen.
In all of the outpouring of grief from parents, family, peers, neighbors, teachers, friends, and professionals, there is one universal statement that has been made, “Derrick had a good heart”. Derrick was Mr. Socialability. Everyone in the neighborhood and beyond was always being contacted by Derrick just to say hello or have a chat. His cousin in Belgium got his texts and all his cousins in Butte, Montana, got his texts. He loved his friends and being with them.
Derrick lived with his great aunt Dolores Piper from about three years old to the present, and there were lots of boys and girls in and out of her house eating, playing video games, and having slumber parties over the years. Aunt Dolores took the kids to plays, museums, movies, and the zoo. Derrick and Aunt Dolores travelled extensively to Victoria, BC; Butte, Montana; Omaha; Boston; Chicago; Seattle; and Portland. Derrick’s great uncle Jim Piper died when Derrick was eight, and that was a tragic loss for him as he and his uncle were constant companions. Following his uncle’s death, he and his aunt Dolores were always together. He assisted her in her food marketing business and worked at many food shows and other food related events, so that he was well known to all of her business associates.
Derrick was talented at writing especially R & B and rap lyrics. He and his friends would make rap videos at the SSF Boys and Girls Club. He would spend hours on the computer composing lyrics to musical beats. As young teenagers do, he dreamed of composing lyrics that might be recorded and published.
Derrick attended Monte Verde Elementary School, Westborough Jr. High, Alta Loma Jr. High, and SSF High School. His eighth grade social studies teacher at Alta Loma Middle School said, “Derrick would ask the most inquisitive questions in social studies class and offer thoughtful analysis of U.S. history. Derrick’s presence elevated the level of conversation in our classroom. He spoke eloquently and articulately, wise beyond his 13 years. I will always remember him for his intelligence, respect, kindness, and humor”.
Derrick attended Monte Verde Elementary, Westborough Jr. High, Alta Loma Jr. High, and SSF High School. He is survived by his four year old brother Michael Red, his great aunt Dolores Piper, his parents Rachel Guido and Derrick Gaines, his maternal aunts Justine Lockard (Rob), Monique Lockard, his paternal grandparents Shirley and Henry Sanders, grandfather (Cheryl) Anias Melson, cousins Juel James, Millie James, Tru James, Adayah Easley, Malaya Davis, cousin Nate Piper, step father Michael Red, cousins in Butte, Montana; Post Falls, Idaho; Boise, Idaho; Kigali, Rwanda; Omaha, Nebraska; Vancouver, Washington; Portland, Oregon; Denver, Colorado, Ghent, Belgium and beyond. Too numerous to list, these were cousins that Derrick met and spent time with. They were all cousins that Derrick thoroughly enjoyed, and they all embraced Derrick and were embraced by him.
Derrick is predeceased by his loving grandmother Cheryl Balkovetz, his loving and devoted great uncle Jim Piper and grandfather Louis Lockard.
Services will take place at Duggan’s Serra Mortuary, 400 Westlake Ave., Daly City, CA 650-756-4500. June 27 viewing will begin at 4:00 pm and sharing of memories 6:30 – 8:30 PM. June 28 funeral services with prayer and sharing of memories beginning at 11:00 AM. Gathering after that at the War Memorial Bldg., 6655 Mission St., Daly City, CA.
There is a Derrick Gaines Memorial Fund that has been set up at Wells Fargo Bank to aid the family in funeral expenses – account number 1636477653. Any donation however small is great appreciated.