Dermalene “Derma” Taylor Brown, of Morehead, gained her angel wings on Sunday, April 26, 2020, at the home of her daughter in Stanford. She was born in Knott County, KY on August 21, 1942, to the late Tessie Ritchie Combs and the late Joseph Russell Taylor. She was preceded in death by two spouses, Aubra Hershel Ferguson, Jr., and Larry Gene Brown. She was also preceded in death by her stepfather, John S Combs; a brother, Sonny (Pete) Combs; and one nephew, Ryan Douglas Cooper.
Derma loved growing up in her beloved Appalachian Mountains of Clear Creek in Knott County. She took great pride in her heritage. Her closest family lived right on the Creek and she spoke about her extended family of Jean Ritchie and The Singing Family of the Cumberlands. She met two missionaries at church that she often spoke about, Miss Helga and Miss Verna whom she admired and looked up to. She loved reading and could often be found on a hillside in a tree with a book (or more recently, her Kindle). She graduated from Hindman High School and while the rest of her family moved to Miamisburg, OH, she moved to Morehead to attend college where she also fell in love with the hills and beauty of Rowan County.
As a child, Derma knew she wanted to be a teacher. She received her bachelor’s, master’s and other graduate degrees from Morehead State University. She started her teaching career by traveling to Ohio to teach--with her infant son in tow--and returning on weekends to work in the family’s restaurant, The Dairy Mart. She went on to teach at Tilden Hogge Elementary, Clearfield Elementary, and Rowan County Middle School. Teaching was her passion and she could connect with all students regardless of background. After retiring, she missed her students and continued to work in the schools mentoring children in reading programs until she became too ill.
Derma was a quiet, gentle soul who listened way more than she spoke. When she did speak, it was carefully thought out and of substance. She was a natural beauty who didn’t put a lot of thought into makeup or clothing. She didn’t own a dress, and jeans were her clothing item of choice. She was active and her children grew up enjoying camping trips, beach trips, hanging out at the tennis courts and rooting her on at softball games. As her children got older, you would find her at their events and activities as their biggest cheerleader. Pictures of Derma are somewhat rare as she didn’t like pictures of herself and in 9 of 10 her eyes are closed. This has been a family joke for years and those pictures are now treasured with big smiles and loving hearts.
Derma’s children and grandchildren were the loves of her life. She is survived by her son, Charles “Chuck” (Lorie) Ferguson of Morehead; daughter, Candace “Candi” (Ty) Howard of Stanford; stepson, Johnnie (Teresa Joseph) Brown of Mt. Sterling; and daughter Larryn (Keith) Hinton of Morehead. She has 12 grandchildren: Jared Howard, Zoe Ferguson, Cadan Norden, Abby Howard, Zeke Ferguson, Josey Norden, Zerah Ferguson, Alexa Howard, Alarra Barker, Ryder Brown, Reya Hinton and Raven Hinton.
Derma was the oldest child and will be greatly missed by her surviving siblings: Donna Montgomery of Salyersville, Ginger Cooper of Morehead, and Ronnie Combs of Keavy. She also loved and is survived by several nieces and nephews.
Derma’s extended family and best friends were very special to her and hold a special place in her children’s hearts as they also grieve this great loss.
Due to COVID-19 requirements set forth by Governor Andy Beshear, a private family visitation and Celebration of Life will be held Thursday, April 30, 2020, at Northcutt & Son Home for Funerals with Pastor Allan Hutchinson officiating. Private interment will be in Brown Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to one of Derma’s loves: Your local animal shelter, your local library, scholarships for students or upcoming teachers. Special consideration to: The American Cancer Society and The American Heart Association.
Northcutt & Son Home for Funerals, 400 Fraley Drive, Morehead, KY 40351 is caring for arrangements.
View memorial tribute and sign guestbook at www.northcuttandson.com
To send flowers to Dermalene's family, please visit our floral store.