most of you know, Dean died on September 11th. During our
Worship Service last Sunday, I detailed the way in which the Lord
extended His arm of salvation to Dean, and the sincere expectation that
Dean is now in glory. Again, I want to praise God for the ministry of
this Church family to Dean throughout his time with us and especially
during the recent physical affliction which ended Deanís earthly life.
Dean was born in
Inglewood, CA, on October 23, 1969. He moved to Holland, Michigan along
with his parents, his younger brother and younger sister, when he was
five years old. In Holland, Dean lived most of his life. He was always
known for his outgoing personality, his kindness toward everyone, his
thoughtfulness, his willingness to help others, and his extra-ordinary
Dean loved to
wrestle, and despite his slender frame he excelled in this sport in high
school. He possessed strength greatly out of proportion with his
slender frame. As a result, often Dean was very successful wrestling
others who were in a higher weight category. He set the record at his
high school for one-handed push-ups. To date this record has not been
broken. Wow! Deanís plaque for this accomplishment still hangs on his
high- schoolís ďwallĒ.
After news of Deanís
death became known to his friends and family, Deanís mother, Chris, was
very blessed by the unusual number of Deanís fellow students who
responded. All of them had such encouraging things to say about her
son. Dean was outgoing and friendly. He was respectful of other
people. As a result, his investment in friendships in school was not
forgotten by his peers even over twenty years later.
Early in his life,
Deanís God-given ability as a gifted artist was very evident. He had a
tremendous ability to draw and paint. Deanís specialty was drawing
pencil sketches, although his gifts in this area were varied. He also
was blessed with the ability to paint on canvas with oil, and water
unusual abilities to draw and paint with meticulous detail, although he
was able to complete his work with remarkable speed. If someone asked
Dean to draw something quickly, he could create a beautiful image in
just a few minutes. He had a particular love for painting lighthouses,
penguins, churches, and angels. Dean also was skilled at drawing
flowers. He loved orchids. He grew these gorgeous flowers as a hobby.
In his hometown of Holland, tulips were ďbigĒ. In high school, he won
more than one competitive tulip painting contest sponsored by a Michigan
from high school, Dean was accepted into a very prestigious art school
in Detroit - Center for Creative Studies. Dean excelled in this academy
where he was admitted into the school based entirely on his obvious
artistic gifts. Unfortunately, the school was located in a very
dangerous section of Detroit. Due to problems with the local gangs that
made life treacherous for Dean combined with the heavy financial load of
attending the Center, Dean left art school and did not return.
As a young man, Dean
worked as a designer of posters advertising the products of his
employer, and he also designed blueprints and marketing posters
for a large product line. In addition, he sold his own art work on
occasion. Dean also worked for a while in Kentucky on a horse ranch.
As I mentioned last
Sunday, Dean was a very religious person. From his youth into his adult
years, Dean remained very active in ministry in his Church. He served
very earnestly in a variety of areas, and especially enjoyed visiting
those in the hospital and singing in his Churchís choir. He also
designed the art-work for the music and sermon CD jackets for his
About 3 to 4 years
ago, Dean experienced significant personal hardship which began when he
moved from Michigan to Buellton. What followed was a difficult path
leading to homelessness and heart wrenching unemployment. Dean strove
to make ends meet by walking miles a day to collect and redeem
His years at our
Church also occurred during the most difficult time in Deanís life.
However, Dean was never one to complain or feel sorry for himself.
Despite his obvious personal difficulties, Dean carried himself with
personal dignity and a heart that was free from malice toward others.
Deanís Mom knew that Dean had been hurt deeply by people who were very
close to him. She marveled at the extent to which her son was able to
extend forgiveness and maintain an excellent attitude toward those who
had done her son much harm.
I would add that
Dean was sincere, very respectful of others, tenacious, witty,
intelligent, zealous for God, loving of others, and extremely devoted to
his family and friends. I will always remember Dean for his kindness
everyone. I am
confident that he would never hesitate to help anyone in whatever way he
could. We will miss Deanís friendly presence in our Church, and with
earnest hope I look forward to seeing him in the eternal glory of our
Lord Jesus Christ.