These images originate from a Derry family scrapbook. The scans were provided to the Eastern Washington University Libraries for addition to the Smokejumper Digital Archive. The biography below was adapted from an obituary collected by Chuck Sheley.
Frank Derry was influential in the development of smokejumping in the United States, as a participant in the 1939 smokejumping experiments, as a trainer, and as an inventor of innovations used by smokejumpers throughout much of its early history. Derry was born July 27, 1904 in Wenatchee, Washington, spending the summer of 1922 as a smokechaser on the Wenatchee National Forest. In 1934 Frank moved to California and worked for Northrop Aircraft in the Los Angeles area. Frank established the Derry Parachute Service business in 1936 and became the west coast distributor of Eagle Parachutes. Frank was responsible for the development of the static line system in 1941 and the steerable parachute in 1942-43. The addition of "Derry slots" and guidelines allowed any standard flat parachute to be converted into one which fit the needs of a person parachuting into rugged terrain. Frank continued on with the smokejumper program until 1945. He was head instructor to an estimated 400 smokejumpers. His development of jump suits, harnesses, and parachute canopies was key to the new smokejumper program. Frank Derry died August 2, 1968, in Kalispell, Montana, five days after his 64th birthday.