Born in Oakland, CA, Dean lived there and in San Francisco until he and his family (father Harold, mother Pearl (Dean), older sister Lois and younger sister Cecile) moved to Barnes Valley, in central Oregon. They homesteaded there for 3 years before moving to Forest Grove and then Eugene, OR where Dean studied a variety of subjects at the University of Oregon. In his early 20s he followed his college professor father to New York City where he found work in the banking industry, and continued with college studies. At that time he was drawn to the pacifist testimony of Quakerism, eventually joining and getting deeply involved with the Society of Friends. This led to two important developments in his life: he met and married the love of his life, Shirley VanWagner, to whom he was a devoted husband from 1942 until her death in 2013; and he became a conscientious objector during World War II.
After serving in two Civilian Public Service (CPS) camps, he moved with Shirley in 1945 to Dutchess County, NY, where they raised their three children. Dean became partners with his brother-in-law, helping run the family poultry farm and hatchery for 20 years. He served as a volunteer fireman and pursued his love of music as a tenor in the community chorus. He later worked in appliance sales before spending three years at Ramallah Friends Girls School where Shirley was principal from 1974-1977. His role in maintaining the grounds and acting as business manager was a major contribution to the school’s success during a historically challenging time in that strife-filled region. He continued his concern for peace and justice in the Middle East after leaving the school.
Dean and Shirley returned to their home in Dutchess County, before moving to Foxdale Village retirement community in State College, PA in 1992. There he continued his love of sports - tennis, ping-pong, bowling, and cross-country skiing - well into his 90s, and still enjoyed some bowling and ping pong as a centenarian. He also continued his commitment to social justice, receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award from Centre County for his initiation of Foxdale’s recycling program. He enjoyed a rich spiritual and community life in the State College Friends Meeting and in Foxdale. Among the many friendships he developed was a close and lasting friendship with Lynne Heritage, whom he met through the State College Friends Meeting. His final days were filled with an outpouring of love from Foxdale residents and staff as well as from the wider Friends community who were uplifted by his whistling and by the gentle, humor-filled affection that accompanied Dean in all his interactions.
Dean is survived by his children Norman (Rebekah), Joyce (Peter), and Alan (Lisa Joy), grandchildren Melissa (Matthew), Adam, and Jeremy, and great grandson Robyn.
Gifts in his memory can be directed to Foxdale Village Community Fund or the Foxdale Employee Appreciation Fund.
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