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Volunteer is 'a natural salesman'

August 26, 1997


Staff Writer

Thursday was a special day for Bob Dean. It wasn't his birthday - that's on Sept. 13. It wasn't his 58th wedding anniversary - that was July 9.

Thursday was the one day in August that his schedule wasn't booked.

Dean, 79, donates his expertise to the Service Corps of Retired Executives Association (SCORE) and the AARP 55 Alive Mature Driving program, and, since the 1950s, he has volunteered at Haven Lutheran Church.

"I'm starting to feel I've done my share," said Dean, who retired from Antietam Equipment Corp. in 1985.

Dean was one of 10 Washington County senior citizens honored for community service on the first annual Salute to Seniors day in May.


"Being named as a volunteer came as a surprise to him," said his wife, Vivian M. Dean, 77, who retired in 1982 from Western Maryland Hospital.

"He's a natural salesman, even at church. He seems to have a talent to get people to do things, to volunteer, to donate," she said. "He has enthusiasm for anything he believes in. He puts his heart and soul into it, or else he doesn't do it at all."

For many years, Dean's heart has been behind bars. He said he's proud of his work with the Community Correctional Services Committee of Washington County - keeping the prison Art Club at the Maryland Correctional Institution south of Hagerstown active for a decade and organizing a Saturday night Lutheran Bible study.

"We supply what the state does not," he said. The group also donated instruments allowing inmates to start an orchestra - and a computer and paper for printing a weekly newspaper.

"Over the years, I've learned that not everyone down there is a bad guy. There are some good men in there who have made mistakes that they're paying for. Our motto is, `Correction does much, but encouragement does more,'" Dean said.

Dean also takes pride in his church, Haven Lutheran Church, which is close to his Columbia Road home.

In the mid-50s, he said one of the developers asked him to help get the church started.

He made his decision after remembering a sign in his Sunday school class, "Be Ye Doers of the Word and Not Hearers Only."

"It was time for me to do something," Dean said. "The men and some of the women dug footers and poured some concrete - like a Mennonite barn-raising, only we didn't do it in a day."

Dean has proved to be the man with the plan for the Senior Fair, said Fred F. Otto, executive director of Washington County Commission on Aging Inc.

"Bob developed the blueprint for action for all of the activities and over 80 exhibitors. You can walk in and know where everything is," Otto said.

Dean also is the commission's secretary and a board member.

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