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Ronald Ray Dean
November 21, 1938 ~ January 2, 2024 (age 85) 85 Years Old
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Ronald Ray “Ron” Dean was born in Norton, Kansas on November 21, 1938 to Earl H. and Helen B. Dean. He was a brown eyed, brown haired little guy who was all ‘boy.’ His younger brother, Thomas James “Jim” Dean was born into the family two years later and the brothers became best friends. Ron’s family moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado when he was seven years old. He played lots of sports growing up, but his love was baseball. He was a catcher for the Colorado Springs High School team and was recruited by the (at the time) Brooklyn Dodgers Farm Club. Graduating from Colorado Springs HS in 1957, he chose the path of college rather than pro sports. Ron attended school at the University of Colorado in Boulder. He graduated with a degree in Economics, but he met and courted the love of his life, Sandra “Sandy” White (Dean). The two were introduced by one of Ron’s Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity brothers and one of Sandy’s friends. They dated for two years and married on November 19, 1960 in a quiet ceremony at the Boulder CourtHouse.
Ron and Sandy had two children, Michelle and Stephen “Steve” while they were both in college - I think their grades went up after the kids came along. After Ron graduated he went to work at J.C. Penney Company as a credit manager. As he was based in Colorado Springs, his family moved there in 1966. A few years later, Ron was hired as a credit manager by Montgomery Wards. He worked in the Wards building on South Broadway for many years, and the family moved again. This time to Littleton, Colorado where they spent the next 20 years. After dodging many transfer opportunities with his job, Ron finally caved in and he and Sandy moved to Kansas City, Kansas for four years. While you can take the fan out of Bronco Country, you can’t take the Bronco Country out of the fan. They spent many happy (and some not so happy) Sunday afternoons cheering on the Denver Broncos from their family room in Kansas City. They even went to a few Chiefs vs. Bronco games and wore all their orange and blue! After four years, and another heart scare for Ron, they packed up their Bronco gear and headed home - back to Littleton, Colorado where Sandy still lives.
Ron and Sandy were blessed with four grandchildren. Their first granddaughter, Hannah, was born with Sandy as Michelle’s labor coach and Ron was on duty for popsicles, ice chips and whatever else he could find to do to keep him out of the room and away from the epidural needle. Hannah and Ron “Poppy” had a special bond as Poppy did daycare two or three days a week. His second and third grandkids came along almost two years later and were born in the same year. Nicholas, Michelle’s son, was born in February and Madison, Steve’s daughter, was born in May. Nick is just like his Poppy, all boy and very mischievous and Madison is a little cherub with wispy blond hair and big blue eyes. Keaton, Steve’s son, was born a couple years later and he is a tender hearted, music and sports loving little boy. Going to soccer games, baseball games, dance recitals, piano performances, stomp performances and field hockey games soon became the weekend ritual with Ron and Sandy. Any free weekends in the summer, they spent at ‘the cabin’ a little mountain getaway in Leadville, Colorado. Ron’s Dad built the first cabin at Home Stake Trout Club in 1946 and it quickly became Ron’s favorite place on earth. The cabin today is the third in the Dean cabin history and Ron’s heart and soul, and maybe some blood, sweat and tears, went into building the little haven up the hill.
Ron was always an avid hobbyist and loved building model trains and planes, His passion shifted to tying flies and turning fishing rods to make some of the best fishing equipment ever to catch ‘the big one’ at the cabin. He and Sandy loved to travel and their passion began with a pick-up camper and trips with their kids to California, Victoria, BC, Alberta, Canada and all over Colorado. They took some amazing trips together to Mexico, Hawaii, all over New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado with family and friends.
Ron will be thought of as a gentleman with a welcoming smile and a twinkle in his eye that you knew meant mischief. He was preceded in death by his parents, Earl Harry Dean and Helen Beatrice Dean, his brother Thomas James Dean and Jim’s wife Nila Sue Dean. He leaves behind his loving wife, Sandy, his daughter Michelle and his son, Steve and his wife Tracy. He also leaves his beloved grandchildren. Hannah Diane Simon, married to Austin James “AJ” Simon, Staff Sergeant Nicholas Dean Larsen, Madison Raye Carlson, married to Jesse Carlson and Keaton Jacob Dean, married to Kerry Dean.
Ron passed away on January 2, 2024 at the Denver Hospice Hospital after a two month diagnosis of metastatic cancer in his leg and lungs. We will be holding a memorial service for him this summer at Home Stake Trout Club. Ron will be terribly missed by his wife, his family and friends. We know it’s not forever and we’ll see him again. In Ron’s words…Keep Smiling until we meet again.
John 14:2-6 “In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”