Norm Dean remembered for his contributions to Greeley, his compassion for others – Greeley Tribune
Norm Dean is remembered by friends and community leaders in Greeley as someone people could truly look up to.
Wes Sargent, in fact, grew up hearing his mother say, “You stand up straight like Norm Dean,” before leaving home.
“He stood out in every room. When he walked in, you knew who Norm Dean was,” Sargent said. “His good posture was just a trademark.”
Dean, a former banker, vice chairman of the city’s 1958 Charter for Home Rule committee and World War II veteran, died June 27 of heart disease at the age of 102. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Bonnie, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Sargent, whose mother was the same age as Dean, said Dean was “always one of those guys who knew you”. Dean moved to Greeley in 1946 with his first wife, Margaret – who was Sargent’s Sunday school teacher – and joined his stepfather at the Hibbs men’s clothing store, where Sargent remembers his parents and his grandparents were shopping and getting to know Dean.
Eleven years later, Dean was invited to join the board of directors of Weld County Bank and began his 28-year career in banking. He became CEO and President of United Bank of Greeley, served as a board member and president of the Colorado Bankers Association, and as a board member of the American Bankers Association.
Sargent’s grandparents financed their farm through the bank, where Sargent said he met Dean.
In 1968 Dean oversaw the design and construction of a building for the United Bank which now serves as Greeley’s town hall, as well as an annex also owned by the town and housing the office of Becky Safarik, director municipal deputy, who came to know Dean as a bank president and later as a member of the Greeley Water and Sewer Board as well as a member of the Greeley Rotary Club.
“He was deeply engaged and passionate about his community and tried to make decisions that were for his betterment,” Safarik said.
In addition to serving on the original committee that crafted the city’s Home Rule charter, Dean served on the committee that updated the charter in 2009, Safarik said. Harold Evans, chairman of the Greeley Water and Sewer Board, said Dean’s work on the town’s charter helped lay the groundwork for the town’s water management, with the charter establishing the council of the water and sewage.
“We have to give a lot of credit to Norm and his contemporaries at this time for the way they structured Greeley’s governmental constitution,” Evans said.
Dean then served on the board for 15 years, running at the suggestion of WD Farr, who had already established a reputation in local water affairs. At this time the council passed the Water Master Plan 2003, acquired significant water rights and began construction of the 60 inch treated water main which carries water to Greeley from Bellvue.
“He was one of those people it was always a pleasure to work with. He was always friendly,” Evans said. “And you could always count on him. If you had a project, you could always count on Norm to help you.
Roy Otto, director of development at the Weld Trust and former city manager, was a benefactor of Dean’s aid, receiving a Norm Dean scholarship while in high school. Otto had decided in high school that he wanted to be a city manager and, after earning a master’s degree in public administration from the University of South Florida, returned in 1999 to start a job as an assistant city manager, becoming a city manager six years later. late.
When Otto moved into his first office with the city, he said he had a “surreal” moment – he realized that was where he had interviewed for the scholarship. As City Manager, Otto also served on the Water and Sewer Board alongside Dean.
“It’s kind of a Greeley story, the way I see it. The community is pretty well connected,” Otto said.
Otto helped oversee the development of a city program to facilitate high school internships and saw Dean and his wife at a fundraiser for the program after the DoubleTree Hotel opened downtown. Seeing Dean there reminded Otto of Dean’s impact on his own career and his motivation to help the next generation.
Jean Morrell, former dean of students at the University of Northern Colorado, said Dean is always looking to the future. Dean once told the Rotary Club how he traveled in a biplane with his father’s $1, Morrell said, and several years later crossed the ocean in the supersonic Concorde.
“Even though he had a lot of memories of the past, he always looked forward to the future,” Morrell said.
Dean, whose interests ranged from cultural events and travel to sports and dancing, was the kind of person who always cared about others and remembered details. Morrell said his mind was as “sharp as a tac” even at 102 years old.
Sargent said he thought Dean was in good spirits from the start. In addition to funding Sargent’s father’s bank and Sargent’s first bicycle, Dean sponsored a city league basketball team through the bank, Sargent recalled.
“He really set an example for all of us on how to really be an active member of our community,” Evans said.