Richard Thomas Dean Sr. was born on June 17, 1934 in Rowland North Carolina, to the late Jack and Sally Dean. When Sally died unexpectedly, Jack married Lucinda who became mother to Richard and his brother and sisters. Richard was educated in the Robeson County Public School. In 1950 Richard enlisted in the United States Army at age 16. He trained as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne, 505th Battalion based in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In the military, Richard learned leadership, team-building, cooperation and patience. These skills would serve him well all his life.
In August 1953 Richard married his childhood sweetheart, Bessie Mae Percell; the couple moved to Baltimore, MD soon after that. Richard was employed at Bethlehem Steel within a few months and in 1954 a daughter, Bonita, was added to their family. The couple would have 2 sons, Richard Jr and Reginald in 1959 and 1960 to complete their family.
Richard worked diligently at his job, and was eventually promoted to the position of supervisor of the sheet and tin department. This was as a result of years of training and advancement in the crane and tractor department and participating in many job positions. He wanted to learn about every job at "The Point". He retired from Bethlehem Steel in 1984.
Richard was active in the PTA, several civic organizations, even coached baseball teams for youth, and enjoyed playing the game with his coworkers whenever they got the chance. It was fishing that he loved most, and he taught his sons this sport. The last outing he had with them was to scout a new fishing spot.
Richard was ordained as a deacon at Mt. Tabor Baptist Church in 2005 after returning to live in Rowland in 2002. He loved his church family and enjoyed performing many jobs to maintain the church building. He also loved learning from the bible, and was asked to serve as the superintendent for the Sunday School Department. This post allowed him to learn more about his Savior and teach when called upon to do so. He could always be heard testifying of God's goodness during opening praise and worship time. His presence will be greatly missed by his church family and the community.
Richard leaves to cherish his memory a loving and faithful wife Bessie; one daughter, Bonita; two sons, Richard Jr. (Cynthia) and Reginald : nine grandchildren, eleven great-grandchildren; two devoted nephews and nieces, Melvin and Jackie Ellison and Eric and Ann Sneed. Four brothers-in-law, Tharmon (Leslie) Percell of Baltimore MD, Milton(Chris) Beamon of Statesville, NC and Robert and Tommy McDougald; Four sisters-in-law , Deloris Stewart (Gilbert) from Statesville, NC, Devetha, Velma and Regina.
So we say, well done, we love you. Rest from your labor. The battle is over, the victory is won.
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