Deron Thorp Donations:

Contributions can be made toward the scholarship fund established in the names of Kiara and Nicki Thorp.

Donations can be sent to Mission City Federal Credit Union, account 5282624 at 1391 Franklin St., Santa Clara, CA 95050.


Deron R. Thorp was a man of many talents. After a career in the NFL, he succeeded in the Silicon Valley high-tech industry and co-founded S.H.I.P. Aid, a nonprofit organization, with his wife Gillian.

He died unexpectly Nov. 4 in his Campbell home. He was 33.

Thorp was born Aug. 31, 1973 to Ron and Barbara Thorp of Santa Clara.

Thorp graduated from Cupertino High School, where he enjoyed playing basketball and football. He was accepted to the University of Nevada-Reno on a full scholarship to play football as an offensive tackle. After he graduation, the 6-foot 8-inch Thorp went on to play football from 1996 to 2000 for the New York Giants and New York Jets.

After his football career, he and Gillian, whom he met in college, settled in the Bay Area. Thorp received his MBA from San Josť State University and then worked as a product marketing manager for Cisco Systems. He recently returned to his football roots as an assistant football coach at Harker School. During his first season with the team, the school finished the season with a 7-2 record, a complete turnaround from its 0-10 record the year before.

This did not come as a surprise to Gillian. "His knowledge of football was quite remarkable," she said. "Coaching came very natural to him."

At a memorial service for Thorp on Nov. 10, his wife, daughters Kiara, 4, and Nicki, 16 months, were surrounded by family and friends he made on and off the football field who had come to say goodbye.

The Harker football team also came. Each player wore his green Harker football jersey and carried a single white rose.

"He was such a popular individual. He was known and liked by so many people, not just here, but across the country," Gillian said.

His mother recalled him as an outgoing child, a free sprit and "a prankster who kept everybody laughing."

He was also extremely devoted especially to his family. "They were his No. 1 priority," his mother said. "He was a fabulous father."

His wife said, "There is not a human being that is more genuine, more pure and more devoted to his children than Deron. Above all, he was the most remarkable father and husband imaginable."

Those close to Thorp also knew him as a philanthropist.

While on a trip to Africa, Thorp and his wife decided to explore the small nation of Lesotho. The two were overwhelmed by the lack of resources in the community.

Wanting to make difference, the couple co-founded Sending Humanitarian Aid to Impoverished People, or S.H.I.P. Aid. This nonprofit organization came to life in the garage of their Campbell home. With the help of family, friends and neighbors, the couple gathered medical and school supplies to distribute in Lesotho.

Best friend Matt Thomson, who grew up in the same neighborhood as Thorp, was both amazed and impressed by his efforts to create such a successful organization.

Even though Thomson met Thorp in grade school, he says their friendship evolved while attending Cupertino High.

"I felt confident around Deron, and that was a reflection on his own self-confidence," Thomson said.

Thorp is survived by his wife, Gillian, two daughters, Kiara and Nicki, his parents Barbara and Ronald Thorp and his brother, Brett. He is also survived by sister-in-law Tania Crenshaw, mother-in-law Lorrain August, brother-in-law Thurn August and grandmother Frances Thorp