A native of Dallas, NC, John Derr started his journalistic career as a high school correspondent for The Gastonia Gazette. Later, John held sports editing jobs at Asheville and Greensboro before becoming a writer/electronic reporter under Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell during World War II.
After the war he joined CBS radio in New York and was there as CBS made the transition into television. He was a member of the announcing team when the Masters Tournament was first telecast in 1956 and, since 1976, has directed the Masters Progress Report, as up-to-the-minute accounting of the tournament action that is available to newspapers, radio and television stations.
Derr was the first executive director of the World Golf Hall of Fame in Pinehurst, and later became president of the facility. In 1976 he became executive director of the Carolinas PGA Section and helped that group enjoy a period of tremendous growth and prosperity.
John Derr was inducted into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 1986.