Richard and Charlotte Dean


Charlotte Elvira Dean (Carla), 83, of Pillager, formerly of Brainerd, passed away in her home on June 20, 2020, with loving family by her side after a 10 year journey with Alzheimer’s. Carla was born on July 27, 1936 to Charlotte (Brooks) and John L. Fremling in Brainerd MN.

Richard Eugene Dean (Dick), 86, of Pillager, formerly of Brainerd passed away in his home on January 2, 2021, with loving family by his side after valiantly coping 3 years with prostate cancer. Dick was born on October 16, 1934 to Hugh and Cordelia (LeClaire) Dean in Willmar MN. The family moved to the Brainerd area when he was 7 years old.

Carla and Dick both graduated from Washington High School in Brainerd.

Their story began as high school sweethearts and blossomed into a blessed and fulfilling marriage. Raising their 6 children rewarded them with a life full of adventure. How proud they were when they could add the titles Grandpa and Grandma to their names. Family meant everything to Dick and Carla.

Dick purchased their first tow-truck in 1955, thus launching the legacy of Dean’s Towing and Auto Parts in Brainerd. Carla would laughingly tell stories of learning how to drive in that tow-truck. In the late 60’s the business relocated to Baxter and was renamed Dean’s Auto Parts. Carla was always Dick’s right arm in the business, taking care of bookkeeping, accounting, and all the office details until her retirement. It was truly a family run business with all of their children participating throughout the years. Many a situation required Dick’s big-rig tow-trucks as he was called upon for his expertise and ingenuity in recovering heavy equipment that had gone through the ice, been in accidents, or had gotten stuck in places that required his service which no one else could provide. All the while he kept his family involved.

Carla will always be remembered for her sweet spirit and loving kindness, for her devotedness to family, for her gift of hospitality and entertaining, and for her dedication to her church community, her friends, and most of all her Heavenly Father. She loved volunteering her services in her many roles at First Baptist Church and volunteering at Bethany Good Samaritan Home for as long as she was able. She was dearly loved by those who knew her.

“Dickie Dean” will be remembered by many for his participation as a young athlete on Brainerd’s Golden Gloves Boxing Team. Being awarded the “Fightingest Fighter” trophy in the 1953 Upper Midwest Tournament was a “nail-biting” story he loved to retell. He continued his participation for several years as a judge at boxing matches and was instrumental in organizing the younger boys boxing program. He had fun teaching his own kids to box in their family rec room at home. He served on the committee to save the Brainerd Water Tower back in the early 70’s. For many years Dick dedicated his time to service in his weekly jail ministry meetings at Crow Wing County Jail. In the past, he conducted Sunday Services at Bethany Good Samaritan, and was willing and ready to serve his church, his Heavenly Father, and others as he went about doing good.

Dick and Carla moved to Pillager, where Dick designed, engineered and built their one-of-a-kind dream house that had been many years in the planning...a place to gather loved ones and friends. Their door was always open to company and they loved to share a meal with “whosoever will, may come”. Dick took wonderful care of Carla all through her Alzheimer’s journey until he could no longer do it alone. It was then that their children teamed up and took over fulltime care, which allowed them to live their last days, with the best loving care, in their own home. Dick and Carla had been members of First Baptist Church since they were teenagers, served many years with the local Gideon’s Organization and faithfully travelled the road of life together “until death do us part.” How comforting to know they are together again for eternity.

Left to cherish the memories are their children: Sue (Jeff) Holm, Northfield MN; Rick (Kelly) Dean, Baxter MN; Jil Dean, Chattanooga TN; Elaine Dean, Minnetonka MN; Craig Dean, Pillager MN; Kyle Dean, Delray Beach FL.

14 grandchildren: Justin (Norma) Holm, Johnny Holm, Jason (Kelli) Holm, Jordan (Stacy) Holm, Joshua (Meghan Anfinson) Holm, Julia Holm, Charlaine (Matt) Perlick, Elizabeth (Chris) Crust, David (Michelle) Dunlap, Alina (Joel) Rask, Mitchell (Shalissa) Dean, Tyler Dean, Kyla Dean, Hanna Dean and 14 great grandchildren.

Carla’s siblings: Ramona Grayson, Paul Fremling and sisters-in-law Vicky Fremling, and Rachel Fremling.

Dick’s siblings: Claire (Karen) Dean, and Natasha Romanov; many nieces, nephews, cousins, and cherished lifetime friends.

Dick and Carla were preceded in death by their parents, Dick’s stepfather Alex Sorenson, daughter-in-law Bev Dean;

Dick’s siblings: Gayle (Norm) Prinzing, Wesley Dean, brother-in-law Everett Elrod. Carla’s siblings: John Fremling, Howard Fremling, Harold Fremling and infant sister, Christina.

We as a family are truly grateful for the outpouring of support and tender loving care given by their First Baptist Church family, Good Samaritan Hospice (2019), and Knute Nelson Hospice (2020), until their passing. We also want to acknowledge and thank Carla’s dear friends Peggy Anderson and Cathryn Peterson for holding vigil with us as we cared for Carla in her last hours.

A date for the celebration of Dick and Carla’s lives will be announced in the near future. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Brenny Family Funeral Chapel-Baxter.

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