Dean, Val Browning
1924 - 2021
Val Browning Dean passed from this earth on September 2, 2021. He was 97 years old.
Val was born April 9, 1924 in Salt Lake City, Utah to Jasper and Irma Dean. Growing up during the depression instilled a strong lifelong work ethic and achievement mentality. As an only child, he taught himself to ski and became an Eagle Scout. Val enlisted in the Navy at age 17, became a naval aviator, and during WWII, was a carrier-based fighter pilot in the Pacific. It gave him renowned stick and rudder skills and enduring love for radial engines. He remained in the Naval reserves for many years, flying every plane he could get his hands on including some of the early jets.
After the war, Val used the GI bill to earn a degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Utah, where he also raced on its ski team. At university he met the love of his life, Helen Phyllis Clark, who he married in 1948. Early in his career, he moved his family to Denver, joining as a partner in Union Supply Company, a mining and milling design and supply business. Throughout his career he used his interpersonal skills and his engineering acumen to help many of the mining companies throughout the western USA. Some of his designs were patented. He also used his artistic and engineering skills to help design his last two family homes.
Throughout his life, Val pursued his passion for flying, telling many that he would rather fly than eat. His flying buddies knew that he meant it. He owned a series of private power planes, and later in life, became an avid glider pilot. He was a founding member of the new Black Forest Soaring Society and flew gliders into his mid 80's. In retirement, Val pursued a variety of other hobbies, most notably, leaded glass windows. His works grace the homes of many of his family members and friends. He was also an avid gardener and made the world's best black raspberry jam.
Val was preceded in death by his wife of almost 70 years, Helen, and his eldest daughter, Ann Dean Skidmore. He is survived by his son, Val (Linda) Dean, and daughters, Kristin (John) Dean and Patricia (Lynn) Dean. He is also survived by his son-in-law, Earl (Eileen) Skidmore, 6 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren.
Val's joie de vivre, his easy smile, and his dedication to family, neighbors and friends made him a valued soul. His family is saddened by the void left, but take comfort in the fact the his was truly a life well lived. He will be missed by those who knew and loved him.
At his fervent request, and in lieu of a memorial service, there will be a Wake at the family home, 280 S. High Street, Denver, on October 9th, 2021 from 4:00 to 7:00 pm.
Published by Denver Post on Sep. 12, 2021.