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Dean Milton Dodge
October 4, 1931 ~ December 23, 2022 (age 91) 91 Years Old
Dean Milton Dodge was born on October 4, 1931 to Hazel and Roland Dodge in Sunfield, MI. He grew up on a farm. In high school, Dean enjoyed playing baseball and was a good student. After graduation, he moved to Lansing, and while he was working in a car factory, he was introduced to Betty Stephenson through their mutual friends Don Mast and Marguerite DeWitt.
Shortly thereafter, he enlisted in the Navy and was stationed on the USS Currituck. He traveled all over Europe and to Cuba. During his time in the Navy, he was awarded a special honor after he single-handedly saved a man’s life by rescuing him from a seaplane that had crashed in the water and caught on fire.
While Dean was in the Navy, he and Betty corresponded for three years prior to getting married on December 12, 1953. After Betty graduated from nurse’s training, the two of them moved to Norfolk, VA where Randolph was born. After completing his four years of service in the Navy, the young family moved to Lansing, MI, and Dean began working at the Venetian Blind Laundry. Shortly thereafter, Dean and Betty settled in Webberville, MI, and their second son, Brian, was born.
Dean was a very active community member and enjoyed serving in his community as a volunteer fireman, Webberville Village Council Trustee, Boy Scout leader, and Citizen of the Year committee member. Dean was an active life member of the Webberville Masonic Lodge #485 where he served as a Past Master, Deputy District Instructor, and Secretary. Dean also taught children in the grade school reading program, helped with band boosters and sports, and made wheelchair hand cranks for people who had lost limbs in the war. Dean was a committed member of the Webberville United Methodist Church for over 50 years.
Dean retired from the Venetian Blind Laundry on disability after a major heart attack at the age of 52. Doctors did not expect Dean would live longer than a year, yet he surprised us all. During these years after his heart attack, Dean’s life quieted down. He enjoyed spending time with his neighbors, friends, family, and grandchildren. He especially relished his grandchildren and attended their sporting events, school activities, and other important life milestones. Dean enjoyed playing cards and games, reading, and going out to eat. Dean and Betty also spent 23 winters at Atlantic Beach, NC, and Dean enjoyed watching the ships and dolphins and spending time with his NC family. Dean delighted in being with people, welcomed everyone, and had an uncanny way of just making everyone feel incredibly special.
Dean was treasured by many people in his life, and he felt especially honored each time someone named their child after him. Gary Dean Mast (friend), Brian Dean Dodge (son), Jack Dean Stephenson (brother-in-law), Matthew Dean Dodge (grandson) Hudson Dean Yu, Eric Dean Lau, Jackson Dean Dodge (great grandsons) are among those that share Dean’s name.
Dean passed away on December 23, 2022 at Sparrow Hospital. In the few days that preceded Dean’s death, he was able to say his final farewells to his wife, both sons, sister-in-law Marion, granddaughter Teya, grandson Joe, and great grandson Hudson in person. His other grandchildren were all able to call him prior to his passing. He made sure each of them knew that they were loved and had always been loved. After drifting off to sleep, he continued to receive calls, messages, and visits from family, friends, and neighbors. His wife and granddaughter Teya stayed by his side until the end, and Dean left this world giving Betty’s hand a final squeeze before going peacefully. Dean will be remembered as a quiet and humble man who loved the Lord.
Dean was preceded in death by his parents, his siblings Clinton Dodge, Bernard Dodge, and sister Joyce Petrie, his great grandson Josiah, and Cathy Ellsworth who was like a daughter to him. He is survived by his wife of 69 years, Betty Marie Dodge; his son Randolph and wife Becky of Morehead City, NC and his son Brian Dean and wife Adele of Lansing, MI; his grandchildren Christine (Tim), Joe (Jeanette), Teya, Nathanael (Kelly), Matthew Dean (Allison), Elizabeth (Jaredd), Joanna (Andrew), and Christopher; and his great grandchildren Hudson Dean, Ian, Eric Dean, Emma, Lily, Kaitlyn, Jackson Dean, Lexie, Harper, and Jonah; step grandchild Jeremy (Holly); and step great grandchildren Calvin and Sydney. Dean will be missed by his sister-in-law Marion Sherburne, former daughter-in-law Pamela McCoy, many past and present neighbors, his nieces and nephews, family, and dear friends.
The immediate family will honor Dean in late April, and all will be invited to a picnic on the 4th of July in their neighborhood to remember Dean and celebrate his life. Condolences can be sent to Betty Dodge, and donations can be sent to the Webberville United Methodist Church.