Frank Dermody grew up with four brothers and sisters in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania. His father worked in nearby coal mines but died when Frank was only 7, forcing Frank’s mom, Bessie, to work full-time to support the family.
Frank was a talented three-sport athlete in high school and went on to play football at Columbia University in New York City. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Columbia in 1973 and then worked in sales in New York while saving money for law school.
In 1982, he received his law degree from Indiana University School of Law-Bloomington and married his law school classmate Debra Hewetson.
Dermody worked as an assistant public defender in Harrisburg and then as assistant district attorney in Allegheny County for five years, prosecuting rape, murder and child abuse cases.
In 1989, Gov. Robert P. Casey appointed Dermody to complete an unexpired term as District Justice for Oakmont and Verona. Dermody also acted as legal advisor to Allegheny County’s 55 District Justices in 1989-1990.
He is a former instructor at the Community College of Allegheny County and former faculty member of the PA Bar Institute for Continuing Legal Education.
Dermody succeeded in his first try at elected office, joining the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1990. He has been re-elected from the 33rd District every two years since then and served as chairman of the Subcommittee on Courts in the Judiciary Committee, chairman of the Allegheny County Democratic Delegation, Caucus Secretary from 2006 to 2008 and chairman of the Urban Affairs Committee in 2009.
In 1994, Dermody was selected by House leaders for the sensitive task of leading the investigation into charges against Supreme Court Justice Rolf Larsen. That work led to Larsen’s impeachment, with Dermody serving as the lead prosecutor in a trial before the State Senate which resulted in Larsen’s removal from office.
Criminal justice and sentencing reform have been enduring legislative interests for Dermody. He served on the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing from 1991 to 2010, including 14 years as commission chairman.
In 2009, his Democratic colleagues elected him to be Majority Whip. He was unanimously elected to be Democratic Leader for the 2011-12 session.
Frank and Debra Dermody reside in Oakmont. They have two children, Frank and Cara.