Derek Sender

Fund Type: Memorial Donations

Wilmington, NC

Fundraiser ends on February 25, 2020

Memorial Contributions to ASPCA

Derek Sender was born on December 3, 1980 he spent most of his life in and around Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, where pretty much anyone who met him knew him to be one of the most compassionate, loving, funny and loyal people they would ever know. 

He was the quiet type but what he said he said with purpose and was never afraid to say he loved you.  And even when he was in pain, he kept a smile on his face and shared a laugh that was contagious. Quite literally, there was a time his older brother, Jeremy, was babysitting Derek and his older sister, Danielle, and the three of them decided to play a game where Jeremy would launch his siblings off their parents platformed bed onto a bunch of pillows on the ground 4-5 feet out.  Jeremy may have overestimated Derek’s weight just a tad (or not factored in wind or velocity) and Derek flew just beyond the pillows.  He jumped right up though and started laughing and running around a chair in the room, so Jeremy and Danielle thought he had a great time, and all started laughing together…. That is until they noticed that Derek’s wrist was facing the wrong direction.  He wore that cast like a badge of honor. 

He cared deeply for his parents (Jayne (Winandy) Sender and Dennis and Pam Sender) and wanted nothing more than to make them proud.  He was close to every one of his siblings (Jeremy, Danielle, Jason, Deanna and Scott), niece (Autumn) and cousins (Erica, Marc, David and Josh).  He had countless friends, many of whom he connected with early in life at Maple Junior High and Glenbrook North High School.  He missed all of them dearly after he moved with his family from Chicago to North Carolina.  He wrote recently, “I truly want to say I’m soo blessed that we all walked into each other’s lives.  Love you all and I will always cherish our many years of…. unforgettable memories and most of all…. Some of the best friends I could ever have into my life!”

Though his home was Chicagoland for most of his life, his heart and spirit always seemed to be in Hawaii.  Any time he could travel there, he would.  It seemed that place gave him both the adventure and the peace he needed.  If his life was not cut so short, he likely would have found his way to calling Hawaii home at some point.

He was an incredibly hard worker.  He never did any job halfway.  He was trying extremely hard to find his legacy and place in this world.  But where many others would have given up, he pushed through.  He wanted so desperately to be a fireman; he had the fireman symbol tattooed on his chest – waiting to be filled in with a ladder number.  This dream unfortunately remained out of reach for him because of a diagnosed heart issue.  Uniform or no uniform, he would still have run into a burning building to save anyone, even those who would not have done the same for him.  He never let any physical limitation hold him back though.  He often said, “my calluses are my resume.”  Every job he had was physically demanding, but he also found a way to make very physically taxing work fun.  He was extremely active and in great shape.  He was a gymnast and a wrestler in high school and despite his small stature, had the tenacity and strength of a lion when needed. 

Growing up, Derek’s family always included at least one dog.  It’s no surprise that he connected with and loved animals throughout his life.  He would have rescued 100 dogs if he had the space.  In his adulthood, his children were his dogs and most recently his furry daughter Keiki stayed by his side until the end.  All those that knew him, know that if one were to pick a way to honor him, it would be through supporting animal rescue. 

He left this world way too soon and it’s not fair and even harder to explain.  The lives of those who knew him and especially those who never got to meet him, will never be as full as when he walked with us, listened to us, laughed with us, and held us.  We miss you, Derek, so much more than any words can express. 

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This fundraiser has been created in partnership with
Wilmington Funeral & Cremation
1535 S. 41st St., Wilmington, NC 28403

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Displaying 3 of 3 comments

Freeman Landscape, Inc.

924 days ago

The Sender Family is in our prayers during this very difficult time. Words cannot express the loss we are feeling at Freeman Landscape. Derek was such a light here and co-workers had nothing but good things to say about working with him. He was a hard worker and took pride in his job performance. He will be missed immensely, our heart is broken. ?

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Your Friends from Hammocks Cove

925 days ago

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Sender Family during this difficult time.

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Noelle Hoover

935 days ago

Rest in Peace Derek?

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