Derek A. Kearney
Derek A. Kearney
  • January 13, 1961 - March 6, 2017
  • New Hampshire

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The skilled hands of a great chef came to rest on Monday, March 6, 2017, when Derek A. Kearney 56, of Swanzey, NH, passed away at the Cheshire Medical Center / Dartmouth Hitchcock, Keene.

His culinary journey of life began on January 13, 1961 in Keene, NH, when Derek was born to David A. and Gloria A. (Caron) Kearney.

Derek was a 1979 graduate of Keene High School. While in high school, he excelled at wrestling and track. He also dabbled in a little Judo.

His dreams of becoming a chef lead him to attend Johnson & Wales Culinary School in Providence, RI where he earned an associate degree in culinary arts in 1981.

For over 30 years, Derek enjoyed preparing meals for many in the area while working with the former Ramada Inn's Waterwheel Restaurant and the now Sovereign Hotel. He especially enjoyed his responsibilities with daka Sovereign Hotels, traveling to newly established restaurants, training the new chefs and line cooks, and establishing quality control procedures and business operation requirements. His favorite part of his responsibilities as a chef however, was when he was able to coordinate various catering functions and special events.

Derek was also blessed with the opportunity to spend a year as a sous chef at the famous Grand Torrey Pines in La Jolla, California where he learned many valuable skills. He was also successful at the many cooking contests he participated in.

With the hustle and bustle of a traveling chef and the requirements to spend so much time away from home, Derek longed for a little less hectic life as a chef. He was fortunate to find just the perfect fit as a chef with JimEddie's Restaurant in Keene, where he was able to enjoy the wonderful friendships he made with the staff there for five years.

Derek's other passion in life was the water. He loved the ocean and lakes, especially Silver Lake in Harrisville, where he enjoyed swimming, kayaking and scuba diving. He also enjoyed skiing during the winter months. He had a special love for animals.

He had a very big and generous heart. He loved the Sunday dinners at his home, preparing and sharing wonderful meals and laughter with family and friends. But of most importance, was his daughter, Tara, with whom the sun rose and set with him!

He will be greatly missed by so many in the area, but most of all by his daughter, Tara Kearney of Swanzey; his mother, Gloria C. Kearney of Keene; his brother, Steven Kearney of Winchester, NH; his best friend whom he thought of as a brother, David Pregent of Keene; and several aunts, uncles and cousins. He was predeceased by his father, David A. Kearney in 2015.

A memorial mass of Christian burial will be celebrated on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 at 10:30AM in St. Bernard Church, 185 Main Street, Keene. Burial will follow in the Monadnock View Cemetery, Park Avenue, Keene.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Mr. Kearney's memory to the Monadnock Humane Society, 101 West Swanzey Road, West Swanzey, NH 03446, or to the Tribute Program at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, PO Box 1000, Dept.142, Memphis, TN 38105.