Dean was the sole surviving child of his parents, Ray Staker Vernon and Mable Evelyn Bowen Vernon. His three siblings, Darrell Ray, Merla, and Verla, all passed as infants. Dean grew up in a loving home with many pets, including a dog named Pal who once followed Dean all the way into the local movie theater.
Dean married his high school sweetheart, Betty June Geary, in 1946. They spent 59 happy years of marriage travelling, painting, and raising their family together until Betty passed away in 2006. They are survived by their children: Larry Dean, Bradley Ray (Cindy), Kathy (Larry J.), Austin Kim, and Mark Eric (Cindy); grandchildren: Deani, Cherise, Travis, Jared, Ashli, Tierney, Allison, Lauren, and Lindsay; 39 great-grandchildren and 12 great-great-grandchildren, with another on the way. His grandson Erik preceded him in death.
Dean is also survived by his loving wife of nearly ten years, Nadine Wright O’Brien. Since their wedding in 2012, Dean and Nadine adored spending time in each other’s company and visiting with family and friends. Her children were welcomed into the family: Kray (Val), Rick (Shana), Kristy (David), Kip (Lisa); grandchildren: Kamberly, John, Riley (deceased), Kody, Shalena, Shadrick, Kelsey, KenLee, and K.C.; great-grandchildren: 8.
Born in Wanship, Utah, Dean’s family later moved to Coalville, where he attended school. He graduated from North Summit High School, where he placed second in the state in the high jump and the 220-yard dash. He was also active in drama, performing in and painting sets for several plays.
While attending BYU, Dean took several art classes. On one occasion, Dean’s watercolor professor told him he had painted a “masterpiece” which he should take home as a gift for his wife, Betty. Dean was well known for his beautiful oil paintings, some of which are on display at Questar, Zions Bank, and the Summit County Courthouse. Many of his works of art are displayed and treasured by family and friends.
Impressively, Dean designed and built his own home in Coalville, which made the cover of Architecture Magazine. He spent time serving as the President of the Coalville Lions Club, and as a member of the North Summit School Board. Early in their marriage, Dean and Betty owned the “A & V Lunch” in Coalville, which served soda for a nickel and burgers for a dime.
For fun, Dean enjoyed boating, and even hand-made some of his own boats. When Utah started requiring numbers on boats, Dean’s included numbers 7, 14, and 22, the latter of which he still owned. He was a founding member of the Coalville Boat Club, which pioneered boating at Echo Reservoir. Dean was also one of the first in Utah to own water skis.
Dean was a trailblazing mink rancher, serving as President of the Great Lakes Mink Association, and as an officer with the Fur Breeders Co-operative. He worked very hard well into his seventies, and would even come to help on the ranch whenever he could in his eighties.
Dean was a kind, generous, talented man, who was ahead of his time in many ways. He will be remembered fondly as a caring and devoted husband, father, grandfather, friend, and neighbor.
A family gathering to honor Dean will be held on Friday, December 3rd, in the Coalville Stake Center, from 11:00 to 11:45 am, followed by a graveside service at 12 noon at the Wanship Cemetery.