FELCH – Kenneth H. Dean, 79, of Felch, went to be with his Lord and Savior on Tuesday, July 9, 2013.
He was born May 8, 1934, in Chicago, son of the late B. Howard and Myrtle “Bonnie” (Lantz) Dean.
Ken lived with his late grandparents, Edward and Anna (Dixon) Lantz from his freshman year through his graduation from Felch High School in 1952. During his high school years he worked on his uncle’s farm and also in the woods. He joined the U.S. Navy and was medically discharged in 1953. Ken returned to Felch and went to work at the Niagara Paper Mill.
He married Janet Lee Edberg, daughter of the late Helmer and Kristina (Paulic) Edberg on Dec. 26, 1953, at Zion Lutheran in Metropolitan. They lived in Kingsford and later in Iron Mountain, where their two children were born.
In 1959 they moved to Norwalk, Calif., where Ken worked building patios and then for Armstrong Flooring. They returned to the Felch area in 1963. Soon after, the family moved to Marquette where Ken attended Northern Michigan University, graduating in 1968. He was very active in the Vet’s club at NMU and also became a professor’s class assistant, which helped pay for his books.
Ken taught school in Rock for two years as an industrial education instructor and math teacher. He also coached basketball and football while there. The family then moved to Sault Ste. Marie where he was instrumental in the pilot program D.R.I.V.E. (Disadvantaged Retention in School thru Vocational Education) and held that position for nine years. He also taught driver’s education, coached basketball and football, was active in the city basketball league (played and later refereed) and in their softball program. He kept in touch with friends he made in the Soo through the years, especially his fishing and golfing buddies. He was a lifetime member of the Soo Elks Club.
In 1979, Ken accepted a job with the Dickinson-Iron Intermediate School District where he worked for special education as the compliance and monitoring coordinator until retiring in 1996.
Ken and Janet Lee had previously purchased the Paulic Farm in Ralph and that is where they lived for the next 25 years before eventually selling it to their boys, Bill Dean and Ron Taipalus. The farm is now called “Camp Pair-a-dice.”
At that time, they moved to the Felch area. Ken loved sports, and when he could no longer play, he refereed basketball and umpired baseball games. He was an active participant in the Wishigan baseball league as a player, umpire and announcer. For many years Ken never missed a Felch baseball tournament.
He also loved fishing, hunting and golf until he could no longer participate. He was one of the original eight members who built “The Boars Nest” hunting lodge outside of Felch until it was sold after 40 years of wonderful times and memories.
He loved his children and when they were growing up, he and his wife Janet Lee made it their priority to take many trips with the kids from one end of this country to the other. When the grandchildren came along, they did the same with them. Ken and J.L. loved cruising and did so many times with family and friends. He also loved his annual trip with friends to Las Vegas which he did for more than 50 years. For many years, Ken and Janet Lee spent winters in California with his mom and stepdad, Harold “Rocky” Rasmussen.
Ken leaves his children, Krisanne (David) Dennocenzo of Hardwood, William Dean of Iron Mountain, and Ron Taipalus of Sault Ste. Marie; grandchildren, Dean Dennocenzo and Dylan (Madeline) Dennocenzo, both of Felch, Brandi Dean, and Lindsey Mashak of Iron Mountain; great-grandchildren, Ava Lee, Parker Kenneth, Taylor Grace and Ethan James Dennocenzo, all of Felch; his stepdad, Harold “Rocky” Rasmussen of Newbury Park, Calif.; a brother-in-law, Helmer (Johney) Edberg; a sister-in-law, Delores Burton; special friends, Ron and Dewey Solberg, Ted Mattson and Yut Wickman; and many aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins and countless friends.
Ken was preceded in death by his wife, Janet on Sept. 27, 2011; and two brothers, John Edward and David Allen Dean.
Visitation will be on Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Zion Lutheran Church in Metropolitan. Funeral services will follow at 1 p.m. at the church. Pastor Joel Smeby will officiate.
Ken will be buried on the Paulic/Dean farm in Ralph, joining many family members.
Pallbearers will be Dylan and Dean Dennocenzo, Roger Stenfors, Keith and Tim Paquette and Glen Siegler.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Zion Lutheran Church.
Condolences to the family of Ken Dean may be expressed online at www.ernashfuneralhomes.com.
The family has entrusted the Erickson-Rochon & Nash Funeral Home of Iron Mountain with the arrangements.