Derek Richard MacLeod

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Derek Richard MacLeod. Derek was born in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island to Milton Daniel MacLeod and Martha Grace MacLeod (Dunning) on March 14th, 1948. Derek attended Prince Street School and Queen Charlotte High School, where he was known as the shortest, most successful basketball player on Prince Edward Island. He earned the nickname “Oil Derek (Derrick)” for being slippery on and off the court. From an early age he showed tremendous talent in all aspects of artistry.

As a young man Derek started working at the Confederation Centre in Charlottetown and was an integral part of bringing live theatre to life for the viewing public. His abilities took him to many places including New York (with Rockabye Hamlet), Ottawa, and Vancouver. He was even present when Queen Elizabeth II visited Canada and attended the Confederation Centre for a play. Derek was a member of the team that turned the Confederation Centre into a Centre of Excellence for musical theatre in Canada that drew talent from all of North America. He also worked with Les Feux-Follets a ballet company that worked closely with the Confederation Centre.

When he moved to Victoria he wasn’t able to find work in his preferred field due to the fact that he was a strong believer in union representation and when he attempted to form an IATSE local in Victoria he was blacklisted from the local theatre scene. So he pivoted to a new field, both to himself and the world at large, and got a job working for BC Systems as a computer technician when such jobs were in their infancy. Derek became a self taught computer expert working on systems that were largely classified by the provincial government at the time.

Derek’s true passion always laid in working with his hands by painting and sculpting magnificent works of art that were inspired by his love of Emily Carr and Georgia O’Keeffe and the art and culture of Mexico, which he adored. In 1994 Derek was given the opportunity to work on the opening and closing of the Commonwealth Games in Victoria, BC. The local first nations brushed him with cedar and blessed him to work with their sacred designs to fabricate an amazing spectacle for the world to see first nations art and history. Derek loved the west coast and made many trips up and down Vancouver Island camping and exploring with his family. Trips to French Beach, Weirs Beach, and down the Oregon Coast to see the dunes were but a few of his expeditions. Derek returned to the artistic field when he started working on film sets around Victoria and Vancouver. The many projects that he worked on included such stars as Jackie Chan (Shanghai Nights) and Ian McKellen (X-Men). Derek loved to share his many stories from his work in film, television, and theatre. After retiring Derek spent much of his time enjoying Vancouver Island, visiting friends and family, and playing pool/snooker with his good friends (His pool buddies).

Derek leaves behind his two younger brothers Terrence (Terry) Daniel MacLeod (Ellen) and Gordon (Gord) Francis MacLeod (Beverly). Derek was married twice in his life. First to Jill Thompson (Burtwhistle) with whom he had his first child Sara Kate Thompson and later to Julie Mary Thompson (No relation to the first) with whom he had his two sons Stephan Thompson MacLeod (Cindy) and Jack Daniel MacLeod (Melanie).

Derek passed away suddenly due to a heart attack. The family would like to thank the ICU staff at Cowichan District Hospital for the tremendous care and support they provided Derek in his final days. They were very compassionate and helpful and are a credit to their field.

He was at heart an artistic soul who loved to bring his thoughts to reality through painting and sculpting. He was a self taught master of his field and seeing his work was a wonder to behold. He was very loved and will be truly missed.

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  1. Marlene Dunning Jollimore

    My sincere sympathy to the family of Derek MacLeod. You are all in my thoughts and prayers. I am Derek’ s cousin from PEI. My father Francis Dunning and aunt Grace were brother and sister. I’m sure he will be missed by all . Very shocking news. Take care.

  2. Sympathy extended to all Derek’s family. We were in school together through PSS and QCHS. I was unaware of all those talents when we were kids, but they came to great fruition in his life’s legacy.

    May your memories nurture each new day.

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