By Jessica Creagan
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY -- John Howard Dean, a devoted believer in Christ, a talented architect and a willing community volunteer, has died.
The man whose name was well known around Vero Beach for his caring and giving heart died at his home in Vero Beach on June 8 after struggling with cancer. He was 67 years old.
Mr. Dean is survived by his wife, Carolyn; stepson, James Disinger of DeBary and his family; stepdaughter, Jessica Jackson of Pahrump, Nev., and her family, three brothers, a sister, two sisters-in-law, three brothers-in-law and a large extended family including four grandchildren, and many nieces, nephews grandnieces and grandnephews.
Mr. Dean was born in Somerville, N.J. raised in Chester, N.J., but had made Vero Beach his most recent home for more than 40 years and was invested in the community and in his church, St. Helen Catholic Church.
The Exchange Club of Vero Beach recently honored him as the 2014 recipient of their Book of Golden Deeds Award, given for selfless service to the community.
His firm, John H. Dean Architect and Associates, is associated with many projects that have sprung up in the community over the past 40 years and Mr. Dean took a vested interest in several, going above and beyond the normal call to service.
When the nonprofit organization The Source was looking to build a temporary tent camp for homeless people to live in legally, Mr. Dean helped develop the working plans. His dedication to the project was evidenced by him traveling across the state to visit and stay in a tent camp The Source wanted to use as a model.
In a 2012 interview, Mr. Dean said he was excited to be part of Camp Haven, a project that would shape people's lives, not just give them a safe place to sleep.
"It will breathe opportunity and life back into people who have been discouraged and without hope," Mr. Dean said.
Other notable projects of historic value that Mr. Dean championed include the preservation of the Heritage Center in Vero Beach and the historic Jungle Trail in Wabasso.
He also was heavily involved in the Gifford Youth Activity Center, serving 10 years as chairman of the board, and was the director of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal for the Catholic Diocese of Palm Beach.
Contributions in memory of Mr. Dean made be made to St. Helen's Men's Ministry or St. Helen Charismatic Prayer Group, care of Deacon Dave Hankle, 2085 Tallahassee Ave., Vero Beach, 32960.
Obituary information taken from Strunk Funeral Home's website, www.strunkfuneralhome.com.