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California Genealogy and History Archives

Biographies
of
San Bernardino County and Riverside County

 

WALTER MINTURN DEAN was descended from ancestors forming interesting strains in the making of the American race. Through his father, Albert Flandreau Dean, he harked back to the Mayflower, to New York and to the French Huguenots, while on the side of his mother, Elizabeth Pope Dean, he claimed as forebears Virginia Quakers who migrated to Ohio when conditions of living were primitive and Indians were plentiful.

Mr. Dean was born in St. Louis, Missouri, September 24, 1874, gaining his foundational education in the public schools there and continuing it in the high schools of Chicago, whence the family removed later. Afterward he attended the University of Michigan, where he was prominent in sports and glee club activities as well as in the Theta Delta Chi fraternity. Upon leaving the university he was associated with his father in the insurance business, the latter being the author of the Dean Schedule for rating. A flattering offer took him soon to the management of a department of the Goodyear Rubber Company in Akron, Ohio. However, a few years later a desire for a more genial climate was the cause of his going to Cuba, where he learned the tobacco business on a large finca near Havana, but his plans for a residence there were unexpectedly changed and the lure of California drew him back to his own land. He became a progressive citrus grower in Corona, and took the most intense interest in his groves and ranches. He was always a public-spirited citizen, serving enthusiastically in the Chamber of Commerce. He was one of the organizers of the Corona Country Club and of the Orange Belt Tennis Association, during the existence of which latter he captured many trophies as a tennis player. He did much social service work among the young people of the Baptist Church. He was a man of fine presence and much social charm. His ability as an amateur actor and a talented singer, together with the fact that his wife is a writer of poems and plays, made his home a rendezvous for those who love the finer things of life. On the 31st of October, 1910, occurred his marriage to Janet Overall Williams, of distinguished Southern ancestry. His widow and two children, Walter Manley and Elise Overall, survive him.

MEMORIE

by

Janet Williams Dean.

 

It is too stark to write the simple words —

There he was born —yonder he died —

This he achieved, and that.

Nay, let me sing

Who knew his heart

And let me say

How gladly he did hail

As sentinels of each new day.

The tall, worn trees

Grey with the mist of morn ;

How tenderly at dusk he watched

The red leaves in the wind.

Dancing before they died.

How he had tasted ecstasy too sweet,

How he had heard the babbling of the stars

And read within man's wild rebellious heart

A prayer for beauty haunting him in dreams.

Let me make known besides

How oft the voice of God

Spoke to him in night's hush,

Or when the blue sea broke

In bubbles on the sand,

Or when his baby smiled ;

Or further speak

How he gave honor

To the men who bend

In strength beneath their toil;

How he was touched

By woman's plaintive unpaid ministry ;

How he had never stilled

The laughter in the heart of any child.

There is no need to chant

The fair and deathless tale

Of days of deeds

For this is all : —

Life beat and bent and hammered him

Upon her anvil wrought of grief and doom ;

But never was that thing we call his soul

Too fagged nor spent too far

To point his camerades —

Man, woman and their child —

To that dim, winding path,

Leading through darkness

To the stars at last.

 

Source:
History of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties 
By: John Brown, Jr., Editor for San Bernardino County 
And James Boyd, Editor for Riverside County 
With selected biography of actors and witnesses of the period 
of growth and achievement.
Volume III, the Western Historical Association, 1922, 
The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, ILL

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011