Richard Norton Dean, age 88, died December 24, 2021 in the care of Hospice of Northwest Ohio. His family and his dog, Mr. Peabody, were with him throughout the last hours. His passing was peaceful and good.
Family and students, home and community were the guiding forces in his life. During his 52 year teaching career he fostered musical excellence in students at Nathan Hale School, Waite High School, Anthony Wayne High School, North Central High School, Blessed Sacrament and St. Joseph Maumee schools. In each instance his choirs consistently achieved highest honors in OMEA state contests, and he was acknowledged to be among the top choral directors in Ohio. For many years he judged choral contests at the regional and state level and was a frequent guest conductor for choral festivals.
A 1958 graduate of Bowling Green State University School of Music, in 1992 he was named by the university as a “Distinguished Graduate in the Field of Fine and Performing Arts.”
Beginning in 1956 he directed many church choirs, Waterville Methodist and St. Lucas Lutheran being the most notable. He guided the singers of Toledo Swiss Singers and Teutonia Maennerchor and Damenchor to top ratings at their respective national Saengerfests, as well as performing local choral concerts at Oak Shade Grove. In 1975, and again in 1978, he took area students on a three-week concert tour in Europe.
At the community level, he was instrumental in establishing the Waterville Arts Council, through which he planned and hosted the Winter Concerts and Summer Concert in the Park series. Mr. Dean urged the village to build a performance gazebo in the village park, a venue for concerts attracting up to 1500 music lovers. For many years, he organized the annual Roche de Boeuf Day parades; he organized the first Fort Meigs Fife and Drum Corps; and he performed in and directed numerous productions of the Waterville Playshop. The Richard Dean Chorale, composed of former choir students and area adult singers performed many concerts throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s. In 1992, he was selected as Waterville Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year, as well as having a “Richard Dean Day” set by the village for his 20 years of community service.
Richard was born in Bowling Green, Ohio, on June 25, 1933, to Lloyd W. Dean and Mary Katherine (Norton) Dean. He was preceded in death by his parents and his older brother John Williams (Bill) Dean. Surviving are his wife of 65 years, Virginia L. (McGhee) Dean, his sons, David (Kimberly) Dean, Christopher (Vickie) Dean, Thomas “Ted” Dean (Kelly), and daughter HazeAnn (Christopher) Cunningham, eleven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Richard’s family is deeply grateful for the support of Waterville friends and neighbors, the fine medical care of Dr. Stephen Dood and Dr. Mohammed Al-Nsour, and the exceptional care of his Hospice caretakers, particularly nurse Mandy.
A Waite High School Music Scholarship Fund in his name is being organized for students entering a music career. Hospice of Northwest Ohio is also suggested as a recipient of memorial funds.
A celebration of Richard’s life and tribute to his musical legacy, which will include former choir students and adult singers, is planned for the spring.
Richard’s life was one well and richly lived.
“Good night sweet Prince;
And flights of angels
Sing thee to thy rest” Hamlet, Act 5, Scene 2
Arrangements have been entrusted to Peinert-Dunn Funeral Home, Waterville, OH. To leave an online memory please visit www.dunnfuneralhome.com.