Mary 'Muddie' Derrig, 88: built ships and family ties

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PORTLAND — Mary (Toppi) Derrig, 88, a lifelong Portland resident, died July 9 after a brief illness. She was born on Aug. 7, 1923, the daughter of Rose (Profenno) Toppi and Rocco Toppi Sr.

“Muddie”, as she was affectionately called by friends and relatives was the second of nine children. Like many of her generation who were raised during the Great Depression, Derrig had to choose between full time work and attending high school. She chose to work to support herself and help her family.    

She married her beloved husband, Marty Derrig, in August of 1942. Shortly thereafter, he was drafted and sent to the European theater for the remainder of the war. During that time Derrig worked as a welder building Liberty Ships at the South Portland shipyard.

When World War II ended, the couple moved to Greenleaf Street and started their family. Their home, in the Bayside area of Portland, was a magnet for frequent visits from her many brothers and sisters. The house was also a favorite spot for her children’s many friends.

The couple loved to travel and took many Caribbean cruises with their large circle of friends. Driving to Montana to visit with Marty’s brother, Eddie, and driving around New England for yearly World War II reunions was also a favorite pastime. Derrig loved the Italian Heritage Center.

As a 50-year member, she never missed a weekend function. She always talked about what wonderful people and friends she had made at the center. Up until her recent illness she could be counted on to visit there at least once a week.   

Derrig was predeceased by her husband, Marty; her sisters Antoinette Joyce, Adeline Quattrucci, Susie Fuller, Camilla Anderson and Emma Carrigan; and brothers Frank Toppi and Rocco Toppi Jr.

She is survived by her sister, Yolanda Noyes; a daughter, Kathleen Lee; two sons, Michael and wife, Robyn Derrig, and Kevin and wife, Kim Derrig; sister-in-law, Marion Toppi; eight grandchildren, Ericka Lee-Winship, Christopher and Kevin Lee, Anthony Derrig, Nicholas Derrig, Scott Derrig, Keith Derrig and Stephanie Derrig; and eight great-grandchildren.

A funeral was held July 12 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland. Interment followed in New Calvary Cemetery in South Portland.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Mary’s memory may be made to: American Heart Association, 51 US Route 1, Suite M, Scarborough, ME 04074.