Cover photo for Dana “Big Daddy” Derhammer's Obituary
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Dana “Big Daddy” Derhammer

Dana “Big Daddy” Derhammer died at his home in Portage on Tuesday, August 11, 2020.  Dana was born November 28, 1936 in Kalamazoo, the son of Dana H. and Florence (Rose) Derhammer. He graduated from Kalamazoo Central  High School and received a degree in music at  Youngstown University. Dana married Joyce Burt on March 8, 1986 in Kalamazoo.  He enjoyed fishing, traveling, eating fine food, and having a booth at flea markets, including Shipshewana for over 25 years.  Dana was a member of the Moose Lodge and the Portage Kiwanis Club.  Dana was most widely known for his music and played for three US Presidents.  He was well known in Florida as Big Daddy Derhammer where he entertained his admiring fans.  Dana was the oldest member of the Kalamazoo Federation of Music.

Survivors include his wife Joyce, children, Dawn (Brian) Weaver of Portage; Marca (Steve) Corning of Gobles; Gwyn Smith of Orme, TN; Tammy (James) Freeman of Portage and Tina (Craig) Nadrasik of Schoolcraft; grandchildren, Gwendolyn, Jessica, Justin, Josh, Cara, Travis, Emily, Codey, Lynnsie, Katie, Mike, Colby and Lucas, 26 great grandchildren, 2 great great grandchildrden, nieces, nephews and by his children’s mother, Mary Derhammer of Portage.  He was preceded in death by his son-in-law David Smith and sister Diane Downing.

Private family burial will take place at Mountain Home Cemetery in Otsego.

In memory of Dana contributions may be made to Portage Kiwanis Club, 5225 Portage Road, Portage, Michigan  49002

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Condolence Messages

Annett Gutierrez

August 13, 2020 at 3:01 pm

Our deepest condolences, so very sorry to hear this.


Lanett Lemaster

August 13, 2020 at 5:10 pm

I’m am so sorry for your loss, you guys are in my thoughts and prayers


Gay Lou & W. Jay Brown

August 14, 2020 at 5:05 am

Tina, I am so to hear of your loss. May God comfort you and heal your hearts.


Cheryl Cook

August 14, 2020 at 1:15 pm

Dawn, Marca and Gwyn all of you are in our prayers. Your dad was a wonderful man and a fun uncle. Lots of great memories. Love you all. Cheryl, Jodi, Chris, Dustin and Ava


Ron Eastman

August 14, 2020 at 1:57 pm

Deepest sympathy from the Eastman family in California.



August 14, 2020 at 6:05 pm

Gwyn and family I am so sorry for your loss. My prayers are with your family.


Steve & Jan Jones

August 14, 2020 at 10:13 pm

We had many great times with the Derhammers. Dana was full of life and tried to live it to the fullest. He will be missed.

Sorry for your loss. Joyce, we are praying for you and your family. We love you.


John H Wolfe

August 16, 2020 at 5:08 pm


It was with shock and sadness we learned of Dana’s passing.

Please know that you have our love and condolences at this difficult time.

John & Anne Wolfe

Bradenton, FL


Jack and Suzanne Snyder

August 16, 2020 at 6:31 pm

Dear Joyce . Just want to send our deepest sympathy to you and family on the passing of Dana.



August 17, 2020 at 10:23 am

JOYCE im sorry to hear of your loss and I loved to hear him and sing God Bless


B.B. & Maureen Widdop

August 18, 2020 at 8:13 pm

Deepest Sympathy from our families to yours. Godspeed “Big Daddy” –


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