Thursday, July 23, 2015

Mr. Dean

50 years later and I've still got the jacket.

Mr. Leon Dean, one of the teachers I had in high school passed away the other day at the ripe old age of 91. I had him for three years of Ag class even though I didn't really see myself going into farming. I liked the mechanical end of farming but like a lot of guys in high school, much of what I signed up for was only because I didn't like my other options, that and the fact my mother was bound and determined to see that I went to college which further limited my options.

Not only did Mr. Dean teach the different Ag classes but he was also the advisor/sponsor for FFA. At that time FFA actually stood for Future Farmers of America. (Now it's just three initials but that's a story for another day.) I held a couple offices in the organization and participated in several of the various contests. At one time I was the number one poultry judge in the whole county, I'll have you know! We took field trips out to farms, went to a farm progress show, sponsored an annual turkey shoot, participated in contests he coached and none of us hooligans really appreciated, or even knew, all he did for us. I know he was very proud of my older brother and all of his accomplishments in the ag field. I think he had me rightly pegged as a guy who wasn't living up to his potential when I was in high school. All I really wanted from high school was to get out. In my defense, I think the fact that I was a slug in high school helped make me a better shop teacher later on, however.

Reading the obituary it was no surprise to see all that he had done after he left the local high school and moved to a career center a few counties east, as well as what he was involved in after his retirement. He was a good man who helped a lot of young men and women get started along their life paths. There's a lot more to education than just learning a subject. RIP Mr. Dean.

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