Dean Holbrook Wilson, 66, of Colorado Springs, CO passed away peacefully at his home on March 27, 2013 with his loving wife and family by his side after a valiant battle with cancer. Dean was born on July 2, 1946 in Sidney, MT to George and Oral (Kringen) Wilson who preceded him in death. Raised in Great Falls, Dean graduated from Great Falls High School in 1964 excelling as both a student and a multi-sport athlete. He graduated from the University of Montana (Missoula) in 1968 with a BA while earning high honors, and again in 1970 as a distinguished graduate with an MA in Anthropology. Earning his commission as an ROTC Distinguished Graduate, Dean entered active duty in May 1970 and began 43 years of uniformed and civilian service to the United States Air Force and the country he loved. After attending the Air Force Intelligence School, Dean served as the Wing Intelligence Officer assigned to the 23rd Tactical Fighter Wing at McConnell AFB in Wichita, KS and as Director of Operational Intelligence for the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing in Ubon, Thailand directly supporting the Viet Nam War. While excelling as an Operational Intelligence Instructor at the Armed Forces Air Intelligence Training Center at Lowry AFB Denver, CO, he was given the opportunity to interview for an instructor position at the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1976. Dean was an Instructor, Assistant Professor, Course Director, and Executive Officer for the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership at USAFA from 1976-1979. His outstanding performance led to his selection to the graduate program at the United States International University in San Diego, CA where in 1982 he was again a distinguished graduate earning a PhD in Leadership and Human Behavior. He returned to the Academy as Associate Professor and Advisor in Charge for the Behavioral Sciences and Leadership Department. In 1984 he was selected to be Director of Curriculum and Scheduling Services and in 1985 he became the USAFA Registrar. As part of his duties, Dean was given oversight of Academy graduations, insisting on their flawless execution in order to make the families proud. He cherished this responsibility and proudly orchestrated the subsequent 27 years of graduations. Dean served as the Registrar and Director of Academic Affairs until his retirement from active duty in October 1993. He continued in these positions as a civilian until 2006, when in addition to his role as Registrar, he was appointed Associate Dean for Student Academic Affairs. He served in both positions until the time of his death. While at the Academy, Dean met and wed the love of his life, Nancy (Tromble) Wilson, and they shared a wonderful 29 year Christ-based marriage together. He is also survived by his son Michael Wilson of Mesa, AZ, his daughters Erin (Hamilton) Pollard of Rancho Santa Fe, CA, and Christine (Jeffrey) Herpel of Thornton, CO and his two beautiful grandchildren Penelope Holbrook and Charlotte Hope (for Dean!) Pollard. Dean told his family at every opportunity how deeply he loved them and how extraordinarily proud he was of them. While he loved his family and friends, the Air Force Academy was Dean's passion. Above all, he saw himself as a teacher first and was energized by the great young men and women cadets and fellow colleagues at USAFA. His visionary leadership spearheaded numerous Academy cadet-centered programs and senior leaders trusted him daily to provide critical advice grounded in his vast knowledge and experience. He was passionate about Falcon sports, vigorously cheering for the cadets by name and always staying past the third verse of the Air Force Song as well as serving as the Academy representative to the NCAA for eligibility certification. He leaves a legacy as an inspirational leader and mentor for many, helping them succeed in their military careers and throughout their lives. The impact he made by enriching the lives of others is evidenced by the many great close relationships he maintained long after cadets graduated and his colleagues retired. Dean Wilson embodied the Air Force core values: Integrity First, Service Before Self, Excellence in All We Do. Dean had a zest for his friendships, travel and living life enjoying them all to the fullest. Although he was proud of his Montana upbringing, he loved Colorado more than anyone, often commenting about the weather, "It's a glorious day in Colorado!" He was a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Colorado Springs, faithful volunteer, and an honorary member of the US Air Force Academy Association of Graduates. Perhaps the greatest legacy he leaves with his passing was his desire and commitment to make a positive difference in the lives of others - something Dean prayed for each and every day. Visitation will be held from 4:00pm to 7:00pm Tuesday, April 2 at Swan-Law Funeral Home at 501 North Cascade Ave. Funeral services will be held at the Air Force Academy Cadet Protestant Chapel Wednesday, April 3 at 12:00pm with internment with full military honors at the Academy Cemetery. A reception will immediately follow at the Association of Graduates building, 3116 Academy Drive, USAF Academy. The family kindly requests, in lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Air Force Academy Endowment Fund (www.usafa.org/endowment) or the Sarcoma Foundation of America (http://bit.ly/DeanHWilson).
29 entries | 3 photos
The Guest Book is expired.
Published in The Gazette on Mar. 31, 2013