Colby College remembers Derrik Flahive

One of many Derrik Flahive Stories

So last year I took Riddmic Harmony, a music class that consisted of both learning and performance aspects. Towards the end of the year, we would come to class and practice for our final presentation, a compilation of some body-percussion and instrument-based percussion songs. Derrick knew of our class, but it was pretty hard to verbally explain what crazy stuff was going on in the class. Derrick had to get a closer look.

One day Derrick showed up early before our class started and asked politely if he could observe. The teacher was all about sharing this musical experience with others. He obliged, and we began. Derrick started out spectating, but after a little, he had to get his hands dirty. He stood up and joined in. Derrick was having a great time, and we were enjoying sharing this with him. It’s really hard to paint a picture of what was going on, but imagine a line of students clapping and beating on their bodies or on drums, with some added tribal-like screams and a whole lot of sweat and smiles.

Regardless of whether or not I was able to paint a picture of what our class looked like, the point is that Derrick was willing to embark into “unknown territory” just to experience something new. He was willing to accept that awkward moment that comes along with sitting in on someone else’s course, just to have a new adventure. I think we all could learn something from how Derrick handled himself. All he wanted to do was pack as much enjoyment into one day as humanly possible. Most of us probably are not going to walk into the next Organic Chemistry lab, but in reality one should not let a little social embarrassment or discomfort stop you from trying something new. Derrick was a great person and if we all share the stories of the times we spent with Derrick, he will most definitely live on.

I thought I would share this with you. Your in our thoughts Derrick.

– Keith B. Fairbrother

Derrik Flahive Lives Forever

One of my fondest memories of Derrik was his 19th birthday when we were freshmen. Our plan was to go skiing at Sugarloaf that day and Derrik was going to drive. My friend and I showed up at Dana and we wondered where Derrik was. When we called Derrik he said, “I just realized it’s my birthday today.” Needless to say, Derrik wasn’t ready to drive to Sugarloaf.

My friend ended up driving and Derrik sat in the back of the car playing the front two seats like they were drums and mixing in his philosophical musings amongst his spontaneous beat box sessions.

Always full of energy, when we arrived at Sugarloaf Derrik made it known on the mountain that it was his birthday and he was going to celebrate. This consisted of everything from trying to hug someone for holding the door for him to cheersing a five year old kid when he let Derrik finish the rest of his fries.

I’ll never forget that day and I’ll never forget you Derrik. You taught us all how to have fun and celebrate life. We miss you man and we love you.

D-Rock lives forever

– Daniel P. Covert

My good friend Derrik

November 15, 2011. It’s been 365 days since you jumped off that waterfall, surely expecting a nice ride on the way down. It’s been 365 days without you Derrik, but you have been here with me, here with us the whole time. I struggle to find the right words, no words can do justice, but they can certainly help. You are an extraordinary person, always there to tell a good story or to make my day just that much better. I miss you Derrik. I want to jam to a little Scarlet Begonias or maybe even some Bathtub Gin in the locker room, who needs that techno crap, you know even more of the words than I do, and you can play along better than I can. I remember walking into the coffeehouse in Marylou or Coburn, not really sure what building it’ in, and you had your little jam goin with a couple guys, just crushing thursday night. You floated down the lacrosse field making me wish I could actually run and score goals as opposed to getting scored on. I think about you everyday my man and yo!

u will always be a friend of mine. I wanna ski some more with you, I’m headed out your way come Christmas break so have your shredstick ready. I miss you man, heres a jam we can sing when I see you, I’m sure you’ll know it.

I went down to the mountain, I was drinking some wine,
Looked up in the heavens lord I saw a mighty sign,
Writtn fire across the heaven, plain as black and white;
Get prepared, there’s gonna be a party tonight.

Uhuh, hey! saturday night!
Yeh, uhuh one more saturday night,
Hey saturday night!

Everybodys dancin down the local armory
With a basement full of dynamite and live artillery.
The temperature keeps risin, everybody gittin high;
Come the rockin stroke of midnite, the whole place gonna fly.

Uhuh, hey! saturday night!
Yeh, uhuh one more saturday night,
Hey saturday night!

Turn on channel six, the president comes on the news,
Says, I get no satisfaction, that’s why I sing the blues.
His wife say don’t get crazy, lord, you know just what to do,
Crank up that old victrola, put on them rockin shoes.

Uhuh, hey! saturday night!
Yeh, uhuh one more saturday night,
Hey saturday night!

Then God way up in heaven, for whatever it was worth,
Thought he’d have a big old party, thought he’d call it planet earth.
Don’t worry about tomorrow, lord, you’ll know it when it comes,
When the rock and roll music meets the risin sun.

Come back for just one more saturday night, it’ll be a big old party. I love you Derrik, see you soon.

– Peter D. Reiley


I’d like to start out by saying that Derrick was one of my first friends at Colby. During a time when most freshman are worried about their appearance, how they sound or what friend group they feel most comfortable in, Derrick somehow circumvented those first year insecurities and brought a sense of serenity and happiness to those who knew him. While my freshman year was chock full of Derrick stories from arguing in philosophy class to having impromptu heart to hearts during inappropriate times (like parties or before class) my favorite memory of Derrick was a trip to Hill in the ville.

Derrick, Jacob Billiar, Jenn Sibert, Molly Hodson, Johnny Schroeder and myself drove down to the concert during one of the first weekends of school. It was a grey day with a thick layer of humidity that turned even the straightest head of hair into a conglomerate of frizz. All 6 of us got out of the car and walked to the stage to find nothing short of a less than stellar turn out. In addition to the awful weather and attendance, the music sucked.  Just as I was about to start to complain, Derrick cut me off and suggested we check out the food carts. We decided on mexican…and then ice cream (both of which tasted horrible)…and then a spot on the grass…and then a philosophical conversation about college and what we expected from our first year at Colby.  When the conversation wound down, I looked around and realized that we’d been sitting there for a few hours. At the time I didn’t think much of it or how and why the time passed so quickly, but in retrospect it was Derrick’s fault.

As I got to know him, I realized that Derrick had this incredible ability to envelop people in kindness, conversation and positivity. That day at the concert was headed downhill at a rapid rate until Derrick took charge. His warmth and humor that day  was evidently contagious because the 6 of us ended up having a blast in the midst of bad weather, bad music and bad food. Derrick’s beautiful outlook on life continued to entice those around him which is why he is unanimously remembered as one of the best kids that’s set foot on this campus.

I love you Derrick you will always be one of the most extraordinary people I know and that incredible outlook on life is something that I strive to embody everyday…but so far, you’re the only one with enough patience, warmth and understanding that can master it.

Kat H. McElroy


Missing you D-Rock. Missing everything about you. It’s weird how you can feel closer to someone after they’re gone. You have a lot of love coming your way from down here, a lot of people keeping your spirit alive. I hope you’re still as crazy as ever my man. Love you Derrik, missing you always.

P.S. The wall looks great, but I picture you finding a way to climb to the top of it rather than playing wall ball on it.

– Meaghan E. Mooney



I’m writing this from the Miller basement cubicles, where I remember studying for an art history exam freshman year. I was playing music obnoxiously loud through my headphones, and instead of asking me to turn it down like most people would, you complimented me on my song choices and wished me luck on my exam. I dug up an old email the other week that you sent me, Eric, and Jackson during spring break sophomore year. All it said was “Fantastic” and attached was a powerpoint of black and white photographs of Africa. I effing LOVED that. Only you, dude…only you.
How it’s been a year, I don’t even know. It seems like only yesterday I was sitting down writing for the memorial issue of the Echo. Writing felt inadequate then and it still does now. Words don’t do you justice…never have, never will. All I can really say is that you are so loved and missed here at Colby. We’re always thinking of you in some way or another, and I hope I can live my life with even a fraction of the fullness and openness that you lived yours with.

So much love,
Molly P. Hodson

PS – to those who didn’t get a chance to know Derrik, take a few minutes today to read the Echo memorial issue. We tried our best, but like I said before, words can’t even begin to do him justice.


Sophomore year, Flahive and I stood in front of the map in the basement of Miller as he showed me his route that he wanted to take over the summer to travel across the world. ‘Twas a fair route. Though I think he had just thought of this idea on the spot, I did not doubt his passion. I don’t think anybody ever did.

Then, over the summer, he texted me and said, “Yo I’m at Breck Brewery!”  Since I had no idea what Breck Brewery was, I responded, “What?” He never responded… I think he texted the wrong person. I still have the message on my phone and I check it from time to time.

We miss you kid. Rock on.

– Colin B. Canny

D-ROCK The Dudest of Dudes

Time flows with velocity
so when it gathers frost on me
Its tough to stop to see
What this atrocity
has done to me

Why’d you go,
and leave me bare

Why not think,
stop and stare

But that’s not you
never was
The transience of things
kept you searching above

for the freshness of life
and the promise of the moment
A continued pursuit
for anything unfrozen
You lived more than most
in just twenty years
my idealized memories
hold back the tears

Because grieving
isn’t what
you’d want me to do

Looking back
in the past
you’ll never find something new

What’s going to happen
will happen
but you can’t be there now

Taught me to relinquish anxiety
and give the present my vow

experience completely
just what is
Thinking of your smile
like a mischievous kid’s

Not a cell of resistance
no delusion of illusion
To be still enough to listen
is still enough for union

Spontaneity doesn’t quite sum it up
how much life you fit in one small cup

You hid nothing from the day
knowing some time you’d have to go
but your saga lives on in the love you sowed

So my friend,
I miss you man

But you left us,
than your attention span

Who thought It’d have to be so soon
You have a bed in my heart where I made some room

to instill this plan
to follow what’s real
To do what I do
and feel what I feel

I miss you man. You taught me about the joy of life. Showed me what a person completely comfortable with himself looks like. You’ll live on through my thoughts and actions.

– Garth P. Franklin


Senor Flahiiiiiiiiiiveeeeeeeeeee,

I miss you each and every day brother, so much. I can’t believe it has been a year since we lost you. I am excited to celebrate your life today, because dude, you crushed it. From hunting wildebeests, to rafting the Snake river, to jammin to some Phish and P-Groove, all the way down to winning Edward 40 hands and rippin top ched. You are the MAN, and I miss you like crazy.

LIVE. LOVE. LAUGH. You taught me how to excel at those three little words, and how important they are. Live in the moment, because you never know when another great one will come around. Love with a passion. And Laugh often, life can always use more laughter.

I can’t wait to see you again, and have some spontaneous dance parties whist we debate whether times exists or not, as well as who is the hottest Denver Broncos cheerleader. You are a wild man DROCK, and one of my best friends. Miss you brother. You will live forever in my heart.

– Michael W. Stephens

Derrik Flahive

Approximately three years ago, in the middle of my freshman year, I was sitting alone in Dana studying for an upcoming exam. I guess I looked concerned.  Derrik walked up to me, said something like, “Hey, what are you so worried about?”.  I tried to respond, but Derrik left before I got a single word out.

– Lydia J. Ball


Everybody knows that someone who can see things no one else does. Things that seem outlandish or even out of the realm of possibility become a reality with them. Derrik was one such person for me, and many others. Even more than finding those weird little things, Derrik enjoyed sharing them with everyone around him. Whether it was making up ridiculous scenarios and dialogue for our Spanish skits, thrashing the drums (or whatever other resonant surface that happened to be at hand), or sharing some philosophical wisdom about the world, Derrik loved exploring and innovating for the enjoyment of others. My best memory of him has to be the first weekend up at Sugarloaf during our freshman year. We found some weird, snow-covered tree that was bent and gnarled by the side of the trail, a perfect natural feature for playing on. We spent the majority of an afternoon jibbing it and nobody went bigger or had more fun that Derrik did that day. I still can’t pass that tree without thinki ng of him. Derrik- we all miss you buddy. Thanks for all the smiles and memories and adventures you’ve shared. They continue to inspire us.

– Luke M. Bowe

Thinking of D-Rock

Iwrote this piece and read it at Derrik’s ceremony last year.  Seeing that it is my favorite Derrik story, I’m sharing it again with all of you.
Whenever I spent time with Derrik, I had high expectations of learning something new from him; these expectations were not just always met, but were also invariably exceeded.  Whether Derrik had just given me a brief lesson on his hand-crafted drum, discussed his wild philosophies with me, or simply told me a personal anecdote, I always left Derrik feeling enlightened in some particular manner.

On December fourth of last year, a bunch of friends and I went to a Railroad Earth concert in Skowhegan.  Four of us, one of them being Derrik, wanted to spend some time exploring Skowhegan before the show so we left campus with a few hours to spare.  We picked up a couple growlers from the Oak Pond Brewery and found a gazebo in the beautiful Coburn Park, lying adjacent to the mighty Kennebec River.  We spent hours in that gazebo rejoicing, listening to music, dancing around a Christmas tree centered in the gazebo and playing in the fresh snow that had just begun to fall that night.  As the concert grew closer, we began to wrap up one memorable festivity and prepare for another.  When leaving the park, we realized that the area in which we had spent the last few hours was much more expansive and wondrous than we had originally taken it to be.  We could not let the night progress without further exploring the rolling hills of Coburn Park.  After sliding down snowy slopes and prolonging our park jamboree, we encountered a small band shelter.  The four of us gathered in that shelter and Derrik began to beatbox; without verbally communicating to one another, our quartet sparked up a vocal jam that rivaled that of Phish in their song You Enjoy Myself.  Five minutes later, our vocal jam, that I wish had been recorded, organically wound down.

We proceeded to make one final stop in the park where we all stood in awe alongside the Kennebec River.  As the four of us stalled in reverence at the top of a bluff at the waist of the River, Derrik began an oration pivoting on one of his favorite and most applied philosophical topics, mindfulness.  Derrik spoke with vigor about how we should aim to strongly impress upon ourselves that particular memory, along with other important ones.  Derrik pushed me to focus my attention on every possible detail I could grasp at the time.  At this very moment, I was fully living in the present; I can still remember the sound of the Kennebec River, the sensation, scent and taste of the new winter air, and the feeling of truly experiencing the present.  Evidently, Derrik’s exercise was effective, as this memory has so evocatively stuck with me and will continue to do so for the rest of my life.

In light of Derrik’s passing, I have begun to find myself striving to be more mindful in the last few weeks.  As the day grows farther from us when Derrik Flahive left this world for another, his lessons of mindfulness will persist to remain as powerful as they did the night of December fourth – that special night we reveled and learned from one another in Coburn Park.
Derrik, I miss you and memories of you will never leave me.  Keep jammin on.

Harry Geldermann

D-Rock remembered

The day D-Rock passed away, I was sitting in the library with some friends. Every one of us was going abroad in the spring, so naturally, we were concerned with where we would live for our senior year. We talked about potential roommates, potential locations, on campus or off campus, etc. Derrick’s name came up. We laughed about the absurd hypothetical scenarios living with D-rock would bring. His spontaneity, impulsiveness, and constant energy levels would be a blast. No other person could bring that vibe, and every day would be an adventure.

As we spitballed, we found out that D-Rock had passed away while abroad in Chile. It seemed too surreal; we had literally just been talking about him. We sat there in disbelief.

To me, Derrick was larger-than-life. His perspective on life, and the ways in which he embodied that perspective every single day, is something we could all learn from.

I spent last spring in Cape Town, which offered me limitless opportunities to grapple with situations I wasn’t comfortable with. Every day, I encountered something that intimidated me, and I had to mentally steel myself for the unknown and the unknowable. We always said to one another, when we were contemplating engaging in an uncertain or uncomfortable situation, YOLO (I’m sure you’re all familiar with the phrase). YOLO quickly morphed into YOLOTIA (pronounce yo-lo-sha), which stands for You Only Live Once, This is Africa. It reminded us that we weren’t just there to stay inside of our respective comfort zones- we were there to go outside of them and really experience the world outside of our gated compound and safe campus. These opportunities may never present themselves again.

Looking back on my time in South Africa, the most memorable and special moments were the ones that required one or two extra YOLOTIA’s in my ear. Like bungee jumping and nearly s****** my pants in midair, or going into a dangerous area to see a Sizzla concert. It would have been far easier to shrink back and stick to routines, but that’s not what life is about. Spontaneity and adventure is the spice of life.

To me, that’s what D-Rock represented. He embodied that more than anyone I’ve ever met, and Derrick will forever live on through my changed perspective, my actions, and in my thoughts and memories.

– Malcolm L. Kerr

D Rock

DRock, my man, been missing you. Wish I was back on the Hill right now to remember you with everyone. Can’t wait to toss around the rock for you this season. My thoughts are with you from Scotland, brotha.

– Ian S. Boldt


When I think about Derrik Flahive I think about the most genuine person I ever knew.  Someone who loved life in a way I’ve yet to see in anyone else I’ve ever met.  Any further description of him is impossible through words, letters or the internet. In fact, I think the best way to describe, remember, or celebrate Derrik is through music. The kid loved to jam and its those jam sessions I shared with him and so many others that I remember most fondly.  So, in remembering Derrik, even if you never knew him, I’d say pick out a song, anything you want, but probably something mellow, with a clean drum beat and smooth guitar riff and just jam out for a little while, because Derrik exists in many places, but like the soul, music is something difficult to hold, touch, measure or count and yet it impacts us in ways we never knew possible and could never describe, and that is why I find DROCK there: between notes–in a sound.  So this weekend I’ll be listening to a lot of music and thinking of the kid who really taught me how to dance. D, I’ll miss and love you always, and in your own words “Jam On”.

-Gregory L. McKillop



Don’t judge.
Seize opportunity.
Live for the moment.
Crush jams.
Keep faith.
Love wholeheartedly.

Living as Derrick did has led to the most fulfilling year of my life. I now know how he was able to accomplish so much and inspire so many in just 20.

Rest in peace brother,
Spike Smigelski

Celebrating Derrik Flahive

Around this time freshman year, after much persistence on his part, and much hesitation on mine, I accepted an invitation to spend Thanksgiving with Derrik and his family in Rhode Island. I wasn’t quite sure of whether or not I wanted to travel with him. Having spent time with very few Americans in my life, I had my doubts about committing to a week-long vacation with one of the quirkiest and energetic among them. I felt especially nervous after we realized we had forgotten to turn onto 295 while trying to catch a train in Portland, since Derrik made an illegal U-turn and rocketed back on track at 95 miles per hour. Yet any thoughts of nervousness vanished after we leaped through the closing doors of the Amtrak car and Derrik flashed me that wide, familiar grin backed up by those dancing eyes of his.

It my first Thanksgiving celebration in America, and it went magically, to make an understatement. Derrik and I swapped music, explored the grounds of the resort, talked and laughed. I met his wonderful family, who treated me with immense kindness. He taught me how to do donuts with a golf cart, which I enthusiastically mastered on a golf green.

I’m very thankful that I became such good friends with Derrik and learned so much from him. He passed on to me all different kinds of lessons: how to play drums, how to be more outspoken, how to chill when things got complicated. I wouldn’t be interested in the things I love today had I never crossed paths with this wild man. D-Rock N’Roll, buddy, that big smile and hearty laugh will be with us for many years to come.

– Patrick H. Martin


We have thought about you a lot over this last year, and we think about you whenever we play on billy alfond field. We remember you whenever the song brokedown palace comes on since Sug put a quote from it as his status when you passed. Hilary and I were incredibly sad that night in Spain to learn that we lost an awesome friend who had such a passion for jams and the outdoors. When I met your dad at Mainely’s last spring, we talked about music and how you always wanted to go to Telluride Bgrass Festival–he really seems like he encouraged you to have the adventures that you always had. We feel like we can’t take anything too seriously when your name comes up, because life should be fun and we should all do weird things. Like the time that you were hanging out in the woods near the hillside parking lot late on a weeknight and you popped out and it scared me, but you were just hanging out. Our only regret is that we weren’t in the woods with you. I’ll think of you when I’m in Telluride this summer, thanks so much for being authentic and being part of our lives at Colby. Hopefully I’ll meet some characters like you when I’m there because the world is better with weird people in it. Can’t wait to listen to SCI as I read everyone’s posts about you tonight. You rock,

Girls at 23 West


I once had a six pack of ice cold blue moons. Derrick asked for one and I gladly obliged. He drank half of it then asked for another. I’m still not sure what that was all about. The one… The only. Keep watching over us my friend.

– Nickolas M. Kondiles


Umphrey’s in Burlington and phish in Portland, people under the stairs in Cambridge. I’ve always admired our ups and downs together, its tough to not enjoy such an organic individual. D-rock, you’re still part of our senior class.I wish you were walking in the November sun with us today, our smiles and energy stem from you.

– Andrew S. Flynn

Thank you Derrik

Dear Derrik,

Things have changed since you left us. People are more spontaneous, more chill, more wild. We owe that to you. Having you in our hearts and in our memory has made Colby a better place. I felt it a year ago, almost immediately. Amongst the immense sadness there was a new spirit emerging. A new warmness, a new appreciation for life, and a new willingness to go out of the way to create happiness. We saw your life as a model, a perfect existence.  And although no one could come close to living like you did, we all tried and we all became better people. We’re more accepting, more loving, and closer to each other and closer to the things you loved and the things you lived for.

You jumped over every obstacle in your way and went into every new situation without looking back.  That’s the way you lived and that’s the way you died. It was a fitting way to go — in a beautiful place, doing radical things and not giving any fucks. That’s who you were and that’s why you’re gone. Always pushing the limit, never slowing down, going hard all the time. It may have been unsustainable, but it was you and you couldn’t have done it any other way. Thank you for that. Thanks for showing us that there’s really never anything in the way. Just imaginary boundaries and made up bullshit. You were above all that. And you’re helping all of us get to that same place.

Jackson Broadbent

P.S. Here’s a jam for you and everyone who knew you. Sorry it couldn’t be more lively, but I think it works. Love you man.

My Dogg–Derrik!!

Derrik Flahive was a good friend of mine.  Many fond memories shared with Derrik have been in my mind this week, as today marks one year since his death.  Derrik was always stoked for everything, whether it be a wild adventure in the arboretum, road trippin, rockin out at a concert, or kickin it in his freshman single with that huge tv.  He could get funky with the best of them.  His free personality and strong will made him a great friend.

As the class of 2013 comes closer to graduation, I want to make sure that Derrik remains strong in our minds as a defining member of our class.

I think it is healthy to to acknowledge the anniversary of his passing.  That being said, let thoughts of Derrik bring you a laugh and a smile.  Celebrate his life. Make today a good one, and pour a little out for our boy tonight.

Forever in my mind is Derrik Flahive.

– John D. Schroeder


Laughter doesn’t need a reason. it cures all. Smile on.

miss you dude.

-Ethan E. Farina-Henry

A Memory of Derrick Flahive

To my main man D-Rock,

Derrik Flahive will always be one of my first friends at Colby. Living in Foss, we shared many a meal discussing the trials and tribulations of freshman year at Colby. But it was a memory that occurred in my hometown that stands out among the many memorable moments I was lucky enough to share with D-Rock, a man of incredible natural vivacity and appreciation for the joy of life. Derrik defined charisma, and the appreciation and zest he brought to each day will not be forgotten.

Derrik took to each task he undertook with vigor and enthusiasm, no matter if that activity was wearing a hooded poncho, bongo drumming away in the basement of East or shooting past a helpless Middlebury lacrosse defender. He brought the wonder of a man who spent his time outdoors, always willing to stop and admire a beautiful fall tree or the young tree buds spring eternal as the weather turns. But it is only fitting that our tribute to Derrik comes in the winter form of a ski movie, as we all well know where we could find Derrick on a sunny weekend day during JanPlan.

As to my aforementioned favorite memory with Derrik, it occurred the weekend I welcomed him to my house. We saw a concert with a group of other Colby friends, all of whom I am still close with to this day. Before the concert, while in the ticket line, we recognized the capped heads of the two featured performers of the night. Abandoning the line, we raced over and introduced ourselves to the musicians. Derrik’s palpable excitement infiltrated the whole group, and his unflappable sense of elation carried us high through the show.

Derrick is a man who will not soon be forgotten. Someone who will forever be a member of the class of 2013. Someone who always did what he loved, and always loved doing it even more.

Today we remember Derrik.

– Brady S. Hesslein