Dean had unstoppable determination and courage. He was fiercely independent, smart and proud of all his accomplishments – from Eagle Scout to CPA to lawyer. He was athletic – his achievements included completing three Iron Man triathlons, multiple half-Iron Man races, 122 triathlons and too-many-to-count foot races. He was also strong – he was known as the guy who caught a tree with his body during a volunteer house rebuilding project.
Dean’s fight against cancer began in November 2014 when he found a small lump on his tongue that became very painful and was identified as early stage oral cancer. He underwent major surgery, but Dean walked out of the hospital’s intensive care unit on his own and quickly continued his life of intense training and supporting his daughters’ athletic events, with regular CT scan monitoring. In October 2015, he successfully completed his life’s dream – THE Iron Man race in Kona, Hawaii, with his family cheering him on. Soon after the race, Dean begin experiencing jaw pain and was diagnosed with very aggressive head and neck cancer. He underwent more major surgery, then steeled himself daily for two months of chemotherapy and intense radiation treatment. While he was still recovering, more cancer was identified. Dean fought hard for ten months, never faltering in his mind over matter philosopy, and remaining thankful to the medical teams at University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University who cared for him. He participated in an experimental treatment program briefly before it became clear that the cancer was unstoppable. He even completed the Eagle Man, a tough half-Iron Man, few months before his death, despite only minimal nutrition due to his inability to eat.
Dean was kind and never judgmental, and enjoyed mentoring new triathletes. He was most proud of and loved his wife and daughters immensely, encouraging them in all their adventures. He loved spending time with his extended family and friends, enjoying Maryland crab feasts, swimming and boating in the summer, and skiing and snow boarding in the winter.
When he lost his ability to speak toward the end of his fight, Dean began using a white board to communicate. One of his last messages before his death at age 60 was to thank his family for their support. Dean was always grateful to all those who provided him with unconditional love through his life and through his fight with cancer.