Leslie Dean Pense
1932 – 2021
Pastor Dean Pense passed away peacefully at age 89 in Templeton, CA, after a long battle with dementia and other medical issues.
The second of four children-known to his family as "Deanie"-he was born May 18, 1932 to Harry & Zola Pense in Clay Center, Nebraska where he grew up on his grandmother's farm. Life was harsh on the Nebraskan Plains--his family worked tirelessly during the Dustbowl trying to eke out a subsistence; there was no electricity, refrigeration, indoor plumbing nor bathtub.
When war broke out in December of 1941, Dean's father caught wind of work in the California shipyards and by May of 1942, he had auctioned off their tractor and farm tools and headed west for a better life.
While Dean's father worked the shipyards in Sausalito, the family settled in government housing in Marin City, CA. During this period, Dean heard the good news of the grace of Jesus Christ presented by a visiting outreach team from San Jose Bible College (SJBC) and he accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior. Changed by this experience, he later felt called by God into full-time ministry as a Pastor, graduating from SJBC in 1953. At SJBC, Dean fell in love with Suzie Culbertson and the two were married.
During their 63 years of ministry-1953–2016-Dean and Sue invited others into a relationship with Jesus Christ and into forever relationships within local non-denominational Christian churches. Ministries were in Decatur, IL; Phoenix, OR; Cottage Grove, OR, West Seattle, WA; San Jose, CA; Napa, CA; Caldwell, ID; Turlock, CA; Vacaville, CA-where he was the founding pastor of Crossroads Church-and Yountville, CA.
In 1986, Dean became convinced that the most effective way to reach more people for Christ was through launching new churches: "church planting." While still pastoring local churches, he became the Executive Director of the Northern California Evangelistic Association-now Stadia. With local church partnerships, he planted forty-nine churches in Northern California and Northern Nevada between the years of 1986 and 1998. His vision and strategy of church planting became a model replicated in church planting efforts around the world.
In addition to Christian ministry, Dean enjoyed furniture making, landscaping, cycling, piloting planes, traveling throughout the Northwest and mentoring young pastors. He was happiest when he could combine any of these interests with his love for mentoring.
Leslie Dean is survived by his wife of 68 years, Susan Pense, his sons Kenneth Pense, (Janine Dexter), Lonnie Pense (Deanna), and Bart Pense (Noelle), his grandchildren Nicole Dizes (James), Leigh Dexter (Lauren Shearer), Danielle Pense, Kevin Pense, Nathanael Pense, Madison Souza, and Peyton Souza; his great grandchildren, Hanna Dizes, Xavier Dexter, Zion Pense; siblings Donald Pense (Anna), Norma Goldsmith, Oroville Pense (Jeanette). He is preceded in death by his parents Harry and Zola Pense.
Private internment service at Tulocay Cemetery on July 16, 2021. A Celebration of Life will be held at Crossroads Christian Church, 190 Butcher Rd, Vacaville, CA 95687, Saturday, July 17, 2021, 10:30 a.m. In lieu of flowers, please make charitable contributions to Dean Pense Memorial Fund, c/o Crossroads Christian Church