James Lynwood Derix was born on October 20, 1916 to Charles and Verna Derix who lived in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. James was the older of two children.
James, who like to be called “Jim”, attended the Memorial Junior High School in Phoenixville which is where the famed 1957 movie The Blob was filmed. James left school before graduation to help support the family.
His brother Calvin remembers his big brother as stocky and strong as a bull. He was easygoing, hard to get mad. James enjoyed finding gasoline engines in junk yards and rebuilding them. He was not big on playing sports, but he loved to swim. James worked at the Weiland Meat Packing Plant in Phoenixville.