ABA family mourns the passing of Frank Derylak
ATHENS, Ala. – American Bass Anglers lost a friend and family member when Frank Derylak, 71, of DeLand, Fla. passed away on Sunday, Feb. 5, 2023, doing what he enjoyed best.
Frank served ABA as the tournament director for American Fishing Tour Florida Toho Division 21. On Feb. 5, 2023, he was fishing a division tournament on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes south of Orlando, Fla. with Craig Maxwell when he was killed in a single-boat accident at about 10 a.m. Maxwell went to the hospital with multiple injuries.
“It is hard to talk about Frank without Craig being mentioned as well,” remarked Morris Sheehan, President of ABA. “Those two have spent a lot of time together in the Florida sun doing what they loved, chasing bass. Frank touched many lives over the years and became close friends with so many in the fishing community. He had this warm and gentle spirit that made you want to be around him. We express our deepest condolences to his family and friends.
Born in post-war Germany in 1951, Frank Joseph Derylak formerly lived in Colts Neck, N.J. He served in the U.S. Navy as a S.E.A.L. until his retirement. A fishing guide and avid tournament bass angler, Frank joined ABA in 1993. He eventually became a division tournament director and served in that capacity for almost 20 years. Frank regularly fished events as a member of the Navy Service Team.
Frank’s Daughter, Alexis Derylak shared this of her father’s passing. “It’s very heartwarming to know my dad had so many people that cared for him. Seeing all of the kind words and shared grief for his loss has made us so very grateful for all of the people he has gotten the chance to know over the years. The ABA community was his life, and it seems it’s been an extremely caring and supportive group of people. We appreciate all of the condolences and prayers we’ve received”.
“Please keep Craig Maxwell and his family in your prayers as well. He needs all he can get. He was my dad’s brother and best friend. Craig was with my dad at the time of the accident and did everything he could to try to save him, while he was also injured. Craig is a hero and we’re praying for a quick and smooth recovery for him. My dad left this world doing what he loved with his best friend. My heart is saddened for Craig, but so grateful he was the one by my dad’s side”, concluded Alexis.
“Frank was the friendliest person in the world,” recalled Tim Reuwer of Enterprise, Fla. who served with Frank as the Division 21 assistant director for about eight years. “He would give someone the shirt off his back. He was a great fisherman. If someone had a question to ask, Frank would take the time to answer it. He was a pleasant person to be around.”
Tim served as a U.S. Army Ranger. Since Frank served in the Navy, the two warriors needled each other on a regular basis as members from other service branches commonly do. However, it was all good natured and harmless fun. When the anglers fishing the Feb. 5 tournament heard the news about Frank, they donated the tournament prize pool to Frank’s family.
“We were best friends,” Tim commented. “Frank and I fished together and traveled together. We would link up and go to all the tournaments together. Frank, Craig Maxwell and I were inseparable. Because I was an Army Ranger and he was a Navy S.E.A.L., we used to fight each other all the time, but we had each other’s back. He was a great guy and will be dearly missed.”
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