Charles G. Derderian, a decorated veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard who was active in veterans' organizations, died Jan. 6 of a heart attack at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset. He was 89.
Derderian, of Manhasset, attended John Adams High School in Queens. In 1943, at 18, he enlisted in the Coast Guard and spent 20 months overseas, some of it while assigned to Landing Ship Tank 759. He received the Silver Life Saving Medal in 1997 for his actions in December 1944 in Waikiki, Hawaii, where he saved the lives of many sailors, according to his brother Robert Derderian of Manhasset.
After being discharged, Derderian remained active in military life. "It was an honor for him to serve in the military," his brother said.
A part-time real estate investor, Charles Derderian was active in several military groups, including the L.S.T. Association and the American Legion. He was also senior vice commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Manhasset Post 5063. During this time, he was instrumental in signing up new members.
As co-chairman of the VFW Memorial Committee, Charles Derderian helped establish the Manhasset Veterans of Foreign Wars Memorial Park, which honored military members.
While with the VFW, he also worked with Manhasset High School to create annual awards such as the Robert McGuire Music Award, given to a high school student and named after a former Manhasset VFW leader. In addition, he helped create the Ken Molloy Award, named after a former Manhasset community leader, which is given to Manhasset residents who show leadership, dedication, loyalty, enthusiasm and a sense of community spirit.
In 2006, he was invited to the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., to review cadets.
Derderian also was an active member of the Strathmore Vanderbilt Country Club. He enjoyed playing basketball and from the 1940s to the 1960s he was a member of the New York Athletic Club in Manhattan.
According to his brother, "He was very kindhearted; everybody liked him. No one ever said anything bad about him."
In addition to his brother Robert, Derderian is survived by two other brothers, George and John, both of Manhasset.
A memorial service was held on Jan. 10 at Calverton National Cemetery, where the Coast Guard Honor Guard was present to honor him.