Rev. William H. "Bill" Dean, 92, died peacefully on Wednesday, Jan 29, 2014. Visitation is 12 to 1 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 6, 2013, at Carroll-Lehr Funeral Home in Athens. Graveside service is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 6, 2013, at Shelby Chapel Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to the William H. Dean Memorial Bible School in Nicaragua, in care of The United Pentecostal Church International, Global Missions, Attention: W.H. Dean Memorial, 8855 Dunn Rd., Hazelwood, Mo., 63042.
Bill Dean, a native of Henderson County and long-time resident of Bentonville, Ark., died Jan. 29, 2014, after a brief illness. Bill was born on Oct. 19, 1921, the second of five children born to the late William Henry Dean and the late "Oatie" Horton Dean. He would graduate from Athens High School in 1940.
Bill was a highly decorated World War II Army veteran who served his country bravely as an elite paratrooper. He was involved in combat in France, Sicily, Italy, and Belgium. He was assigned to the 551st Battalion, known in history as "The Lost Battalion." The 551st has been acknowledged in many books and documentaries and was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation. The brave feats of the 551st were also documented in the award-winning book, "The Left Corner of My Heart." His commendations include the Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts.
After the conclusion of the war, he would return home, working first as a farmer and then later as a salesman for Cabell's Ice Cream in Tyler.
He would become ordained in the United Pentecostal Church International, pastoring churches in McGregor, DeLeon, Friona, and Killeen (all in Texas) before retiring in 1989. After his retirement, he and Mary would live for nine years in Bossier City, La. before moving to Bentonville.
Survivors include his wife of 68 years, Mary Benton Dean; sons, Pastor John Dean, of Bentonville, Ark., Pastor Jerry Dean, of Bossier City, La., Pastor Daniel Dean, of Colleyville, Mark Dean, of Arlington; 17 grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren; sister; Jean Caldwell, of Athens; brother, Dan Dean, of Lake Jackson; and many nieces and nephews.
In addition, he is survived by his extended family of in-laws, Juanell Benton, of Wylie, Elton Benton Jr., of Fort Smith, Ark., and Dennis Benton, of Tyler.
As well as his parents, he was preceded in death by sons, Pastor David Dean and James Randal Dean; sisters, Mary Dean Hanys and Peggy Dean Andress; and a great-grandson, Lincoln Stanley I. Arrangements are under direction of Guerrero-Dean Funeral Home, Grand Prairie, 75050.
To view online, or sign the guestbook, go to www.guerrerodean.com.
Carroll-Lehr Funeral Home
1910 Hwy 31 E Athens, TX 75751
Published in Tyler Morning Telegraph on Feb. 2, 2014