Alexander - Weibley Jerome “Jerry” Dean, 84, peacefully passed away on April 4, 2018.
Jerry was born on August 1, 1933 to Weibley K. and Katherine B. Dean of Elmira, NY. He was married for 66 years to Eleanor (Streby) Dean and raised three children, Karen, Koreen and Weibley, proudly putting all three through college.
Jerry’s childhood years were spent in Quarryville, PA, a small farming town just outside of Lancaster, PA. It was there he developed his love of farming and animals. He shared many tales of his childhood growing tobacco, riding (and falling off of) mules and, of course, raising goats. He loved to tell stories of planting corn, picking potatoes and doing just about everything he could to earn money (including digging and moving outhouses during the summer). He especially liked to tell stories of times in the one room school house where he would sneak out and put potatoes in the milk man’s exhaust pipe, and then sneak quietly back in and wait for the explosive backfire.
Jerry was very proud of graduating from Solenco High School at age 16 and immediately joining the US Navy. He enjoyed his time serving his country on the LST 533. He shared many stories of touring the North and South Atlantic, about buying oranges “the size of grapefruit with 2 inch peels,” buying and eating whole pineapples from the side of the ship, and especially one tale about seeing a Sultan of an African country and his extremely protective tall guards wearing pantaloon pants riding bicycles.
After his Navy years Jerry completed college at Farmingdale, NY on the GI bill. From there he went to work in Groton, CT working at Electric Boat Company. Later he moved to Binghamton, NY and began working as a Mechanical Design Engineer for a “small company,” Universal Instruments. While the company grew into what is now Dover Corporation, Jerry’s love for “the shop” never stopped. He talked daily about machines and the various patents he received. He always stressed the importance of a good design, being aware of pinch points and the need for effective packaging. He especially stressed the importance of always carrying a tape measure with you (He proved the necessity of this point once while traveling when he suddenly stopped in front of a house that caught his eye. To the embarrassment of one of his children whom he had get out with him, he went and measured the foundation). Even on his last day of his life he was redesigning machine panels and castings to the right angles and tolerance levels. He made a great deal of lifelong friends at Universal who stayed in touch with him to the very end, especially Nick Taylor and George Mercincavage.
In 1962 he met his future wife, Eleanor Streby, at Swat Sullivan’s. They spent the next 56 years raising their three children in Binghamton and Hillcrest, NY. There were many great family times spent at their cottage on Petunia Lake, in Greene, NY. Here, Jerry taught the kids to swim, fish, and row a boat; most importantly though, was how to tell a great fishing story over a fish fry. He also spent winters ice-fishing and hunting deer, at the farm, with his son Weibley. Although Jerry never came home with a deer, he always seemed to come home well rested, as though just rising from a nap. Other great family times were spent at Victoria Lodge in Canada fishing for perch, northern pike, walleye, and helping Eleanor try to get the elusive “Big Louie.”
Never being one to rest, Jerry and couple of fellows purchased Belden Hill Campgrounds. He spent many long hours after work and on the weekends to build the campground into a success. He was affectionately known as “one of the two professors.” He enjoyed his years there working with Bob Handel keeping the campers happy and, of course, the land well groomed.
After his retirement from Universal, Jerry and Eleanor built their camp on Meddybemps Lake and retired to Alexander. He continued to plant fruit trees and gardens, fish, hunt and raise animals. He was proud of the years he maintained the flower beds at the Calais Library and worked for Mrs. Burns keeping her flowers beds “just right.” Jerry enjoyed Maine and was an active member at the Congregational Church for many years. Jerry was a 32nd degree mason who transferred his masonic membership from Binghamton to the St.Croix Masonic Blue Lodge #46, where he earned his 50 year pin in 2017. He was also in the Scottish and York Rite, and the Anah Shrine where he was a lifetime member. He used his love for animals as a member of the K9 Therapy Unit where he and his K9 companions, Patches and Kit, traveled to Boston Shrine Hospital, the local nursing homes in Calais, Machias and Eastport and to several area schools.
Jerry was predeceased by his parents Weibley K. and Katherine B. Dean of Elmira, NY, his sister and brother-in-law Cynthia (Dean) Tice and Paul, as well as his brother-in-law and wife, Harold and Gloria Streby. His many pets, including Spot, Kit, Patches, Squeaky, Skeeter and Clem, and of course, Bud the goat, anxiously await to greet Jerry in his arrival to heaven.
Jerry is survived by his wife Eleanor Dean of Alexander, daughter and son-in-law Karen and Bob Baum, of Germantown, MD, daughter Koreen W. Dean of Alexander, and son Weibley J. Dean II of Alexander. He is also survived by his brother Samuel K. Dean and wife Joyce of Big Flats, NY, and granddaughters Sarah and Cassandra Regan, as well as many nieces and nephews, cousins and very special friends from NY, PA, and Maine.
While, Dad, will be dearly missed, his stories, hard work ethic, love of gardening, pets, fishing, and hunting will live on in all who knew him.
Visiting hours will be held 6-8 p.m. Friday, April 20, 2018 at Mays Funeral Home, 26 Church St., Calais, where a Masonic Service will be held at 6:30 p.m. A Celebration of Jerry’s Life will be held at the funeral home 2 p.m. Saturday, April 21, 2018. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Jerry’s memory to the Shriner’s Hospital for Children, 2900 N. Rocky Point Dr., Tampa, FL 33607.