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Dean Summers


1927 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Dean Summers Obituary
Senator H. Dean Summers
1927 - 2018
Senator H. Dean "Deano" Summers of Boise, Idaho, died January 9, 2018, in Salmon, Idaho, of complications from Parkinson's Disease. He was born December 4, 1927, in Wellsville, Utah, to Marie Hendry Summers and Dewey Raphil Summers. Within a few years of his birth, the family moved to Ogden, where they were better able to survive the Great Depression. Dewey worked for the Works Progress Administration (WPA), and when prospects brightened for the country, he worked as a salesman at Boyle's Furniture and, later, at C. C. Anderson's. Dean started at Quincy School at five years old with his best friend, DeVerl Wight. From the first, he was a great friend and he had great friends, he studied hard, he worked hard, he played hard—and he enjoyed every minute of it.
Dean attended Lewis Junior High, and then finished high school at Ogden High. One could look back at his high school career and wonder how he ever made it, considering his extensive extracurricular activities. After school each afternoon, he rode his bike to Smith's tomato-canning factor, where he worked alongside Italian prisoners of war; every Saturday, he played drums with the Fermis Santos Band at the Porters and Waiters Club; after the gig, he challenged the off-duty waiters to poker games. Despite his busy schedule, he graduated at 17, in 1945.
His hard work paid off, enabling him to pay cash for a blue Roadmaster convertible, and that fall, he enrolled at the University of Utah in business, showing up in style. For three summers, he earned money working at the Ogden Arsenal (Hill Air Force Base) and maintained his busy schedule. He worked round the clock: He worked from 11 PM to 7:00 AM, then headed home to the frat house, attended class, caught a nap, maybe, and then headed back to work. He still played with the band on weekends and played cards. He was so infamous for playing cards at the fraternity (Sigma Nu), that some of his frat brothers later attributed their flunking out to playing gin and bridge with Deano instead of hitting the books. He also managed to fit in night-shifts as a baggage clerk at United Airlines. Dean graduated in 1949 and joined Strevell-Patterson Finance in Salt Lake City.
Strevell-Patterson transferred Dean to Boise in 1951. During his first years in Boise, he lived at Abbie Hagler's boarding house, where he met his good friend and future business partner, Bob Greenwood. After working for Strevell-Patterson for several years, Dean and Monty Brooks started Summers-Brooks Insurance agency. Also at this time, Dean met Diane and Winston Moore who were, like Deano, just starting a business in Boise, and they started a friendship that would last a lifetime. In 1971, Deano opened his own agency, H. Dean Summers Insurance, and, in 1996, he merged with his friend, Jan Christensen, forming Christensen and Associates. Dean Summers understood the importance of excellent service in an industry where the competition was keen, but his dedication was more than just about the business. He was committed to his clients and their families. In fact, most were more than clients—they were good friends; and frequently, he insured families for generations. Throughout this professional career, he was ably assisted by, in chronological order, Margaret Quinn, Julie Shiverick, and Monica Garner.
True to form, Deano put his boundless energy to work in a number of other areas at the same time. He owned a bank in Byers, Colorado, a car agency and a finance company in Reno, Nevada, and he was partners with good friend Bernard Gratton in multiple business ventures. Deano, along with Jack Simplot, Gratton, Robert Halliday, Charles McDevitt, and Robert Rice, founded Farmers and Merchants State Bank in Meridian, in 1967.
In 1958, Dean married Barbara Kershaw of Utah. To this marriage, Barbara brought her eighteen-month-old daughter from a previous marriage, Heather Jane. Dean raised her as his own. Their son, Walter Michael, joined the family in 1959. Heather says, "Dad was the best father a girl could have." Michael says of his father, "He was my best friend and my hero." Heather and Mike have fond memories of skiing at Bogus Basin, fishing trips to Alaska, and family vacations. Dean and Barbara later divorced.
His arrival in Boise sparked what became a life-long passion: Idaho Politics. Although he became active in the Republican Party in the 1950s, he didn't run for office until 1962, when he won election to the Idaho House of Representatives. His business acumen and hard work earned him a seat on the Joint Finance Committee (JFAC) as a freshman legislator. During his tenure in the House, Boise Junior College gained approval as a four-year state college (Dean became a trustee for Boise State College in 1971) and the Idaho State Sales Tax was passed. Dean's assistant, Barbara Burke Strickfaden, helped him navigate the paths of governance. The 1965 session, under Governor Robert E. Smylie, still holds the reputation as being one of the most successful and influential in Idaho's history. And, as Deano pointed out, despite the difficult issues faced, the legislators worked together with humor, respect, and collegiality. This collegiality produced another group of friends that Deano treasured for life, among them, Governors Cecil D. Andrus and Phil Batt, the Honorable Charles F. McDevitt, U. S. Senator James McClure, Senator Bill Roden, U. S. Congressman Orville Hansen, General Darrell Manning, and in later years, Lieutenant Governor Brad Little and Governor Butch Otter.
After two terms in the House, Deano sought a Senate seat and won in 1966. During his ten years in the Senate, he served as Chair of Health and Welfare and Chair of State Affairs. Dean considered redistricting one of the more critical issues facing the State of Idaho (even out of office, Deano stayed active in politics, especially when it came to the issue of redistricting). In a 2006 interview with the Idaho State Historical Society, Dean said that his legislative tenure was the "best time of my career."
Governor Andrus appointed Dean Idaho State Liquor Commissioner, and he served in that position between 1991 and 1995, aided by Assistant Superintendent Jim Baugh. During the Dirk Kempthorne administration, Dean was appointed to the Boise Airport Board.
It was at this point that Dean and his long-time friend and boon companion, Lynne Benedict forged a lasting relationship. They shared many interests but were delighted to discover how well they travelled together, literally and in life. Since Deano was the world's best trip-planner, the couple enjoyed many well-orchestrated excursions as well as trips with friends to Mexico and McCall, but it was their adventures in Africa that proved the highlight for Dean. Lynne's parents, Bernice and Richard Benedict, joined them on many trips.
In 2000, he married his long-time love, Lynne, in what Perry Swisher deemed, "the social event of the year." Dean and Lynne married in their home with Lynne's son, Rich Benedict, Dean's children, Mike and Heather, and a host of family and friends in attendance. The Honorable Cecil D. Andrus officiated and Jack Simplot was Dean's best man. When Cecil asked "do you take this woman to be your lawful wedded wife?" Dean replied, "Not only yes, but HELL YES!" Cecil scolded him, admonishing him about the seriousness of the occasion—but everyone appreciated Dean's enthusiasm.
As much as Dean loved working, he enjoyed his social life just as much. Dean was a long-time member of the Arid Club where he may have played the occasional card game, while swapping stories with friends. (It's possible that he may have also made a football bet or two . . .)
An avid sportsman, he skied, fished, hunted, golfed, and played tennis. One of his favorite things was to join his good friends, including Dr. John Lundy, Jack Simplot, Jim Cruzen, Raleigh Hawe, Bernie Rakozy, and Bernie Gratton for a duck hunt or for salmon-fishing on the Washington Coast and Alaska. Another life-long favorite was his love of music. He enjoyed listening to great jazz played by friends Gene Harris, Billy Mitchell, and Governor Batt at Peter Schott's Lounge, and hearing Terry Jones play "Laura's Theme" and "Satin Doll" at the Gamekeeper Lounge.
We would like to recognize for their love and commitment: Margaret Lundy, Kyle Weathermon, Bruce Belcher, Bette Olin, Monica and Joe Garner, Darlene Gratton, and Esther Simplot.
One of the best measures of Dean was the quality of his friendships; he was there for them, and they were always there for him, especially during this last year of his life. We would like to give special acknowledgment to Larry Leasure and Bruce and Rebecca Van Camp. The pain of his loss is softened by what a good life he had and how lucky we were to be part of it. He proved that we can be witty and generous, have fun, be kind to our fellowman, and give everyone the benefit of the doubt. We will be loving him, missing him, and quoting him for the rest of our days.
Dean is survived by children, Mike and Heather; his wife Lynne and her son Rich Benedict; mother-in-law Bernice Benedict; sister- and brother-in-law Hope Benedict Carrington and Stewart Carrington; and friend and cousin Dale Hendry. A memorial celebration will be held at the Grove Hotel on Friday, April 20, 2018, at 5:00 PM.
Published in Idaho Statesman from Jan. 11 to Jan. 21, 2018
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