Dean P. Inman (1948 - 2018)

Obituary
  • "Dean was my PhD advisor from 1983-86. We had fun. It was an..."
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  • "Dean and I grew up together, his mother and mine were..."
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Dean Perry Inman passed away on April 5th, 2018 in his home surrounded by family. Dean was born October 6, 1948 to Louise and Robert Inman of Santa Cruz, CA. He grew up in Fair Oaks, CA where he graduated from Bella Vista High School in 1966. After high school he attended California State University Sacramento, graduating in 1970 with a degree in Physiological Psychology. He then pursued graduate studies at Utah State University and the University of Oregon, where he received a Ph.D. in Special Education in 1976.

In 1977 Dean married Lynne Anderson and they had three daughters: Carrie Elise, born 1978; Mindy Louise, born 1980; and Rachel Lynne, born 1989. As a family they enjoyed hiking, camping, spending time at their cabin on the McKenzie River, and traveling in Europe. Dean was an avid fisherman, an interest he shared with his family and friends. He also enjoyed playing chess and reading books on a wildly diverse array of topics.

Dean worked for the University of Oregon as a Research Associate and Oregon Research Institute as a Senior Research Scientist. He was especially interested in using advanced technologies combined with behavioral training to help individuals with physical difficulties overcome limitations that affected their quality of life. Toward this end, he investigated strategies for using biofeedback to help children with upper extremity dysfunction learn to feed themselves, as well as individuals with bowel and bladder incontinence relearn the muscle control necessary to prevent accidents. He is probably best known for his research investigating the use of virtual reality simulations designed for children with orthopedic impairment, so they could learn to drive motorized wheelchairs in a safe environment - leading to increased independence, self-confidence, and academic success. A related line of research investigated the use of computer-generated three-dimensional sound simulations to teach orientation and mobility skills to children who are blind.

Dean was an incredibly creative and inventive researcher who asked hard questions and explored possible solutions in areas few people thought were amenable to improvement through training. His work has had a huge impact on the lives of hundreds of individuals, especially children with physical and/or sensory disabilities that limited their independence and hampered their personal and academic growth. In the words of one parent: "Little did we know that [our daughter] needed to be taught something so simple, that once taught, changed her life...After seeing you, we witnessed a maturity and growth in [our daughter] like we had never seen. I am certain that the confident, well-adjusted teenager we see now is due in no small part to the miracle of your diagnosis and remedy. I had to write you this letter to make sure that you are aware that the technique that you used on [our daughter] and hundreds of others like her, goes beyond making a child physically better. It restores the person, fixing not just the body, but heart and soul as well."

Dean's wisdom and keen sense of humor will be missed by all who loved him. He was able to make light of the most challenging situations and find deep meaning in the simplest of times. Above all, Dean believed that everyone had something unique to offer this world. He lived with an enormous sense of gratitude for all that he had, often exclaiming, "it just doesn't get any better than this!"

Dean is survived by his former wife, Dr. Lynne Anderson, and his three daughters, their husbands, and four grandchildren: Dr. Carrie & Keith Monohan of Nevada City, CA, and their children Kamis Lyn and William Dean Monohan; Mindy & Mark Frisbee of Eugene, OR, and their sons Nico Derosa and Vincent Angelo Frisbee; and Rachel & Skylar Shrum of Glide, OR. He is predeceased by both his parents and his sister Carol Lynn (Inman) Bryte.

A celebration of life will be held for Dean Inman at his home, 3635 Donald Street in Eugene OR on Sunday, April 8th at 2:00 pm. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, a donation be made in Dean's name to (www.heifer.org).

Published in Eugene Register-Guard on Apr. 8, 2018
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