Derek William Hartz, 35, of Valparaiso passed away Tuesday, June 13, 2023. He was born October 15, 1987, in Crown Point, Indiana to Jeffrey & Shelly Hartz and graduated from Valparaiso High School in 2006. Derek enjoyed electronic gaming, especially X-Box and Nintendo, Anime, and trips to Shipshewana. Cooking was more than a career for Derek, it was a part of his persona, acquiring the nickname “Chef-Boyardee” from his mother. Despite the natural challenges in his life, Derek persevered to become the better angel of his nature and embraced the abundance of life within him. His closest friends remember his generous and helpful side, particularly his good advice which he was ironically unable to follow himself. But Derek’s indelible image will remain all of his kind gestures and hilarious anecdotes that have been etched in the memories of those close to him.
Derek is survived by his mother, Shelly Hartz of Hobart, father, Jeffrey Hartz of Merrillville, sister, Nina Hartz of Columbia City, Indiana, nephew, Mattis Boles, grandmothers: Joan Fleming of Merrillville & Carol Hartz of Osprey, Florida, his beloved wire-haired terrier “Kai”, and many loving aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. He was preceded in death by his grandfathers: James Fisher, Glen Hartz and Albert Fleming; and grandmother, Betty Fisher.
Please join us Saturday, June 24, 2023, from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. for a Celebration of Life for Derek William Hartz, at Deep River County Park, Shelter #1, 7510 County Line Road, Hobart, IN 46342. This will be an informal gathering of family and friends to be together in remembrance of Derek. If you feel inclined, please bring a dish, your own beverage, or something that you think Derek would have loved.


He was a great friend and I consider him a brother. He will be greatly missed. My heart goes out to his family he deserved so much more. -Mathew Tucker 

Shelly I’m so very sorry this happened to your son. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Please take care of yourself through this difficult time. If you ever need me for anything please let me know. -Sue Hoevet 

My son Derek Rothman and Derek grew up and went to school toether so I have known Derek a long time. He was always a sweet, respectful kid who I always had a soft spot for. I wanted to attend his Celebration of Life but I had a prearranged trip to TN scheduled to see my eldest that I cannot cancel. Shelly please know that you, Jeff and Nina are all in my prayers. RIP Derek... -Delinda Schenker 

Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this difficult time. I meet Derek when he worked at KFC with my son. They always made each other laugh they both loved talking about movies and games. Derek was always respectful and a happy young man. He will be missed and in our prayers. Sharing in your sorrow With Love and Friendship and our deepest sympathies. -CARPENTER FAMILY 

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