John Gale Dean, Jr.November 4, 1923 ~ May 4, 2020 (age 96)
John Gale Dean Jr, age 96, entered eternity with Jesus Christ on Monday, May 4, 2020. Jer 31:13. Son of Lillian Mae and John Gale Dean, John was the third of twelve children raised on a farm in western Pennsylvania. He was born on November 4, 1923 in the crossroads community of Grant City, embracing his grandfather’s country store and a one room, eight grade schoolhouse. This small-town boy joined the U.S. Coast Guard in May 1943 and served proudly in WWII as a Quartermaster performing navigation and signaling duties aboard the USS Allentown (Patrol Frigate 52), fondly known as the “Amazing A,” doing anti-submarine and anti-aircraft duty with the 7th Fleet in the South Pacific. His military service is summarized below.John was honorably discharged in May 1946, married June Smith in 1948 and together they raised 3 children in western PA. He retired at the age of 60 in 1984 from a lifetime career with Columbia Gas. John and June moved to Richmond, VA in 1998 to be closer to family and appreciated 22 more years of many blessings. John received the gift of faith in Jesus Christ as a child. Godly pastors, Sunday School teachers and parents instructed and led him in understanding the Word of God. John’s life from beginning to end was an outgrowth of that faith. John enjoyed the dignity of hard work and the ability to see his work as a God given means to provide for his family. John was a leader in the Presbyterian Church as an elder, a role model among shipmates, service foreman at Columbia, devoted and loving family man over many generations, helping neighbor, upstanding citizen/volunteer and defender of our country. People were drawn to him because he embodied the fruits of the Spirit in his love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self-control. John’s favorite activities included storytelling and more storytelling, church and singing hymns, vegetable gardening, hunting at the beyond-rustic “Camp 109”, square dancing (where he met his wife and they continued dancing for many years after retirement), being able to fix anything, yearly ship and family reunions, working as a tour guide after retirement, the American Legion, and especially being the man in his granddaughter’s life after the death at a young age of her father. While serving our country during WWII, John saw action aboard the “Amazing A” in New Guinea, Dutch East Indies and participated in the invasion of Leyte and Luzon in the Philippines. The “Amazing A” returned to Bremerton, Washington for refitting and then to Cold Bay, Alaska for delivery to the Soviet Navy as Lend/Lease material. John returned to Treasure Island, CA to join the crew of the USS Grand Forks (PF11), performing air-sea rescue and weather patrol under major air routes between Hawaii and San Francisco. Family would like to thank and acknowledge Peggy, Heather, Lorna, Coleen, Sarah, Catherine, Doy, Iesha, Roz and many others at Bickford of Chesterfield for their loving care these last three years. John is survived by his sons John “Jack” Dean (Sue) of Canonsburg, PA and Larry Dean of Marathon, FL, daughter Gayle Mellis (Peter) of Richmond, VA and three grandchildren Jessica Cochrane (Robert) of Richmond, VA, John Dean, Jr. and Jacob Dean both of PA, 2 great grandchildren Caleb and Noah Cochrane, sisters Freda Jones and Alice Schuller and brothers Howard, Randy, Al, and Chuck (Pat) Dean and multiple nieces and nephews. John is predeceased by his loving wife of 68 years, his parents, brothers Norman, Fred and Kenneth and Dean, sisters Bernice Dearing and Elsie Campbell. Interment was at the Veterans Cemetery in Amelia, VA. A celebration of John’s life will be held at a later date due to COVID-19 restrictions.