Richard “Dick” Derwin, beloved father, husband, brother, and friend, passed away peacefully in his Litchfield home on January 16th, surrounded by family, the love of his life, Andrea Derwin, and the sweet sounds of his favorite crooner, Frank Sinatra, a fitting soundtrack as Richard, even up until his final days, always “did it his way.”
Born in Syracuse, New York, on December 27th, 1936, to Irving and Ruth Derwin, Richard graduated from Nottingham High School, Le Moyne College, and Syracuse University. Richard’s storied retail career began at Lund’s University Shop, a small college clothing store, while he was a student at Syracuse. After graduating and a brief stint in the Air Force Reserves, Richard headed west to LA to work for an upscale menswear store where some of his clientele included Fred Astaire, Cary Grant, Robert Wagner, and Rock Hudson. One of Richard’s favorite memories from that time period was when an invitation to lunch from Fred Astaire turned into an impromptu dance lesson in the middle of a crowded restaurant, culminating in a standing ovation from onlooking patrons. After his time in LA, Richard was recruited to work at Bloomingdale’s, where he was credited with bringing in the Ralph Lauren Polo clothing line as well as forging close relationships with Lacoste and Cartier. Throughout his time with Bloomingdale’s, Federated Department Stores, and Pierre Cardin, Richard was a true visionary and became a powerhouse in the clothing industry, traveling the world from London and Paris to Florence and Istanbul. After his corporate career, Richard planted roots in the bucolic town of Litchfield, CT, where he opened the iconic R. Derwin Clothiers, a men’s and women’s clothing boutique. It’s in Litchfield where Richard spent the last 30 years of his life, raising his three sons, Jim, William, and Andrew, running the clothing store with his wife, Andrea, and step-son, Jonathan, and becoming a positive influence in the community.
In addition to his love of fashion and dapper attire, Richard was an avid sports fan and spent countless hours rooting for the Mets, Jets, and The Orange. One could also find Richard traveling to Vegas in hopes of winning it big at the blackjack table, buying cars (especially convertibles), or watching WWII movies in his leather chair with one of his dogs (Riley, Lucy, or Annie) curled up on his lap. But most of all, Richard loved spending time with family and friends. He was always there to offer sage advice, spin a funny story, or lend a listening ear. Richard lived a colorful life, touched the hearts of many, and much like his Rat Pack idol, most certainly “did it his way.”
Richard is survived by his wife, Andrea Derwin; his brother, Arnold Derwin and wife, Ileane; his three sons, Jim Derwin; Will Derwin and wife, Jolie; and Andrew Derwin (predeceased); his two step-sons, Jonathan Wilson and wife, Diane; Michael Wilson and wife, Sara; and his six grandchildren, Josh, Myles, Ayla, Sammy, Henry, and Lee.
A celebration of life will take place in the warmer weather. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Greenwoods Counseling in Litchfield, CT, (https://greenwoodsreferrals.org).