Gary Alvin Dean

Beloved husband and father, Gary Alvin Dean, 78, passed away Friday, August 18, 2017, due to recurrent lung cancer this spring with contributing conditions of Alzheimer’s disease/vascular dementia and COPD. Gary had been residing at Cottagewood Senior Community in Rochester, Minn., since August 2016 for round-the-clock memory care.

The family thanks the outstanding staff at Cottagewood, Seasons Hospice, Mayo Hospital and Clinic, and Olmstead Medical Center-Psychiatry in Rochester as well as Clara House in La Crescent for the loving care he received over the last 14 months. His family is also grateful for the priceless extra four years that Gundersen Health Center oncologists in La Crosse were able to provide Gary as a lung cancer patient in 2013; he’d quit smoking in 2005 and made successful requests that his family never start.

Gary was born June 27, 1939, in Mason City, Iowa. He was highly social like his parents and enjoyed his school years in Mason City and Belmond as well as the three years he served in the Navy from 1957-1960, including basic training in Company 204 at Great Lakes, Ill. Gary was as an ‘Aircontrolman Early Warning’ (ACW3) for the Navy’s airborne early warning and control system (AEW&C), a crewmember performing radar surveillance. He flew all over the Pacific in WV-2s to help protect the U.S. from any attack by countries such as China, North Korea or Russia. Gary also helped with typhoon reconnaissance to measure their speed and direction. His squadrons had included VW-3, VW-14, etc., and he remained ready to serve in the Reserves until 1963 when he was officially and honorably discharged.

In 1966, in Milwaukee, Wis., Gary married his sweetheart, Rosetta Marie Peterson, from Decorah, Iowa, where their families lived. After having two children during their college years and initial career starts, Rose and Gary moved their family to La Crescent, Minn., in the beautiful Mississippi River region of La Crosse, Wis., to be closer to more tri-state family members.

Gary enjoyed a social career as a national and regional sales manager and representative in various industries including business services, masonry supplies, and wildlife art in order to support himself, his children and his wife who was also a medical technologist, homemaker/business assistant, nutrition store associate and illustrator. In his spare time, Gary loved socializing and close family times spent enjoying in-depth conversations on many topics, the scenic nature and wildlife of the region, the family’s pets, games like Canasta and Trivial Pursuit, and all the seasonal holidays. He also enjoyed literature (esp. James Joyce), film, writing, history and philosophy books, science and nature programs, art, astronomy and music. His talented father Fred was a professional musician and had honorably served in the U.S. 303d Infantry Regiment in WWII from 1944-1946.

Gary is survived by his wife, Rose, of 51 years, his children Janette and David; his aunt Leona Funk (Allie), uncle Walter “Walt” Allie; half-brothers (Mike, Terry, Mark, Steve, Scott, Kim) and half-sister (Dawn); as well as several siblings-in-law, nieces, nephews, cousins, including Sharon Funk, Jay Lee and Linda Lee Trost; step-cousins, including Stephen “Steve” Edwards and Michael “Mike” Edwards and others. Gary was preceded in death by his grandparents Frederick Alvin Dean, Sr., Gertrude Olivia Dean (Donegan), Frank Allie and Ella Mae Allie (Reiter), parents Fred Alvin Dean, Jr. and Mildred “Millie” Irene Voyles (Allie), stepfather Robert “Bob” Voyles, brother Alan Dean, half-brother Brian Voyles, infant sister Janice Kae Dean, aunt Virgie Lee (Allie), cousin Judy Funk, step-uncle John Edwards, step-aunt Ruth Edwards and others.

On Sunday, September 10, from 1 to 3 p.m., a nature-themed remembrance gathering for close family and friends with a brief military ceremony was held inside the International Friendship Gardens in Riverside Park in the Irish Garden near the Celtic cross and waterside anchor sculpture. The gathering included a light lunch and shared memories in the Int’l. Gazebo.

Rochester Cremation Services, who also provided funeral services gave much-appreciated support, advice and service to the Dean family.