Freeman's

Department Specialist


Lynda Cain
Vice President | Department Head

267.414.1237

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Published: 12 September 2017

Behind the Collection: Eugene E. Derryberry

The Late Gene Derryberry (1942- 2007) was known as a man who had figured out what was important in life and what was not, and lived accordingly.

A graduate of Duke University Law School, Derryberry excelled as a lawyer with the firm of Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore of Roanoke for 34 years. He was a talented musician, and would often sing and play his guitar in the middle of the afternoon to lighten up the office.

“When Gene would sing, everything in the world would be all right,” a colleague remembered.

Known as a mentor and strict grammarian, Derryberry was in love with teaching and learning.

Derryberry was generous with his time. He volunteered in the reading program, Barrister Book Buddy and he served as a board member for Total Action Against Poverty, The Child Health investment Partnership and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Roanoke, where he sang in the choir.

Derryberry also loved American antiques— especially antiques with a history. He began collecting in the 1960s and bought from dealers and auction houses up and down the east coast. The needlework, baskets, boxes, carvings, ironwork, toys, small accessory items and furniture in the collection range in origin from New England to the South. Gene had a special passion for small painted boxes and for Windsor chairs with original paint.

According to antique and art appraiser and former auction house owner, Ken Farmer, “The thing I remember most about Gene was his endless curiosity about the objects we were selling. He always seemed to have another question.”

An ideal collector, Derryberry maintained highly detailed records on each item acquired.

Freeman’s is delighted that Gene’s widow Joanne Derryberry has consigned his much loved and delightful collection to Freeman’s November 15th American Furniture, Folk & Decorative Arts auction. It is her wish that The Gene Derryberry Collection find new and loving owners.

Curious what your collection will bring at auction?  We are currently accepting consignments for our fall Americana auction.
Click here for a complimentary auction estimate and for more information.

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