M. Dean Samuel Lt. Col. USAF. Ret.
Dean was born April 10,1922 in Hope, Ark. The 9th child of Richard M. Samuel and Marjorie (O'Steen) Samuel. The family moved to Marshall County, Oklahoma in 1924. He attended school at Willis, Kingston and college at Murray State, Oklahoma A&M & Moorhead State Teachers College in Minnesota. In 1942 Dean volunteered for the Army Air Corp.. He attained the rank of Sergeant before becoming an aviation student. He graduated as a bombardier with the rank of Second Lieutenant and flew 25 bombing missions, bombing railroad bridges using the Azon bomb which was the first smart bomb developed. Dean received 3 battle stars: India Burma, Central Burma and China and service medals: Air Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Asiatic Pacific Theater Medal, American Theater Medal, Victory Medal World War II, and the China War Memorial Medal. Forty-three days after arriving home from the war Dean met the love of his life, Ouita Underhill. They were married December 17, 1947 and recently celebrated 66 years together. Together, they had three children, James Dean, Richard Kent and Janet Kay.
Before entering the Insurance business he was a teacher, Oklahoma Highway Patrolman and park superintendent at "Texoma State Park." He was an independent insurance agent for 25 years in Durant and was selected as Oklahoma Agent of the Year in 1977 by The Oklahoma Professional Insurance Agents.
Dean was always very involved in his Community, loved his volunteer work with the Chamber and was often introduced as "Mr. Durant." Dean was a long-time member of Durant Kiwanis Club where he served in many positions including District Treasurer of the Texas Oklahoma District. After selling his insurance agency he served as Executive Vice President of the Durant Chamber of Commerce for 3 ½ years. His best awards came in 2001 when the Chamber presented him a plaque for "Life Time Achievement" and when he was inducted into the Durant Area Chamber Hall of Fame in 2010. Dean held many positions and received numerous awards during his service to his community, including Kiwanian of the Year, Kiwanis President, Volunteer of the Year – Durant Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of the Board of Lake Country Tourism Association and Durant Citizen of the Year. Dean was an active member of the First Baptist Church for over 55 years, serving as a deacon and two terms as Chairman of the deacons. Dean was also a firm believer in living a healthy lifestyle. Dean swam 5 days a week for over 50 years at the Southeastern Oklahoma State University swimming pool. During that time many lifeguards watched over him including Keith Baxter, current SOSU Athletic Director and his great granddaughter, Miranda Reid.
Dean is survived by his wife Ouita, of the home; sons, Jim Samuel and wife Amber of Loop, Texas and Kent Samuel and wife Sue of The Woodlands, Texas; daughter, Janet Stafford of Madill, Oklahoma; grandchildren, Adrienne Samuel of Plano, Texas, Ryan Samuel and wife Christy of Wylie, Texas, Kendle Samuel of The Woodlands, Texas, Kyle Stafford and wife Kim of Calera, Oklahoma, Lindsey Grooms and husband Arron of Maysville, Oklahoma, Olivia Stafford of Tulsa, Oklahoma; great grandchildren, Nick Tschoepe of Plano, Texas, Vivienne Bozorgpor of Plano, Texas, Carson Samuel of Wylie, Texas, Riley Samuel of Wylie, Texas, Miranda Reid of Calera, Oklahoma, Emma Stafford of Calera, Oklahoma, and Lyla Grooms of Maysville, Oklahoma.
Family hour will be from 5-6 PM Sunday, February 16, 2014 at the Holmes Coffey Murray Funeral home in Durant, Oklahoma. A funeral service to honor his memory will be held 2:00 PM Monday, February 17, 2014 at the First Baptist Church in Durant, Oklahoma with Bro. James Robinson Officiating. Interment will follow at the Willis Cemetery in Kingston, Oklahoma. Serving as pallbearers will be Mike Smith, Dr. Greg Clay, Joe Barrett, Bart Rustin, Kieth Baxter and Richard Hackett. Serving as honorary pallbears will be Dr. C. Henry Gold, Max McClendon, Dr. Bob Engles, Dr. Ernie Strurch, Dr. Ron Menzel, Willie Starnes, the Durant Kiwanis Club and the First Baptist Adult 3 Sunday School Class.
In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made in Dean's honor to Durant Area Chamber of Commerce or First Baptist Church of Durant.
Family and friends may send online condolence and view tributes at www.holmescoffeymurray.com. Services are under the direction of Holmes Coffey Murray Funeral Home, Durant, Oklahoma.