Rick Deer started his career as the program director of the Wilmerding YMCA. From 1978 to 1992, he was the executive director of the Richland Youth Foundation. In 1992, Rick returned to the YMCA for the rest of his career. He thrived as the executive director of Deer Valley Family Camp until 2007, when he took over at Camp Kon-O-Kwee Spencer, in addition to becoming the vice president of camping services. He was a member and past president of the Rotary Club. As a Rotarian, he was the recipient of the Paul Harris Fellows Award. He was a faithful member of the St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Zelienople for many years and enjoyed singing in the choir. Rick was larger than life, known for his wonderful personality and sense of humor. He could be found rooting on the Pirates and Steelers, telling jokes (and laughing harder than most), reading about history and his Bible, helping others and always giving the perfect advice and love to his family. Above all, Rick was known for his love and devotion to family and his faith in God. Rick always shared his “I’m Third” slogan with camp staff and young campers — a reminder to always put God first, others second, and himself last.
After bravely battling advanced prostate cancer for five years, Rick Deer, a man who gave his heart to so many, spent his last day in this world on Valentine's Day in 2013. Rick left behind his beloved wife of 36 years, Charlotte "Charlie" Deer; his three children, and his three beautiful grandchildren. Charlie continues working in Rick’s selfless fashion, tirelessly serving as director of Camp Superstars, a camp dedicated to giving mentally challenged individuals a summer camping experience.
I made a batch of special commemorative pendants in honor of Rick and gave them to his wife Charlie as a gift. What did Charlie do with them? She gave them as gifts to her staff! We miss you Rick. We love you Charlie. God bless you both for your servant leadership and always putting others before you.