Around Mallory & Evans Inc., a large full-service mechanical contractor here, Bob Dean was known as the dean of deans, the master of many aspects of engineering.
John Dixon, the firm’s CEO and president, said Dean, the firm’s chief engineer for nearly three decades, was exceptional — whether planning indoor environments for buildings like Colony Square, the BellSouth building or Atlanta’s expanded airport in 1960 or designing industrial methods for preserving foods and treating fibers.
“To give you an idea of his versatility,” Dixon said, “he created a heating system for the airport that saved it millions, and he was one of the pioneers in the freeze-dried processing of food.”
Dean spent two years at Newcomb & Boyd during the early 1990s, but Bob Garr of Marietta, an associate partner at the Atlanta engineering firm, said it seemed longer because Dean made such a positive impact on young engineers there.
“Bob was a teacher, mentor, problem solver and a mine of information,” Garr said.
Charles Amason of Decatur, founder of Amason Mechanical, said Dean “was the smartest, most practical engineer I ever worked with.”
Amason recalled one night he called Dean for help with a troublesome boiler in Stone Mountain. “Bob was reluctant,” Amason said, “because he was supposed to go to a formal affair and was wearing a tuxedo, but I insisted I really needed him. It wasn’t long before he showed up in his tux, diagnosed the problem, waited until it was fixed, and hurried to his formal event. His willingness to help, never mind the inconvenience, made a big impression on me.”
Dean was a widely recognized authority on heating, ventilating and air conditioning issues. He chaired the Georgia board of examiners on HVAC and wrote the HVAC certificate examinations for 22 states.
Bob Wesley Dean, 88, of Atlanta died of a heart attack Feb. 4 at Grady Memorial Hospital. His memorial celebration will be 2 p.m. March 7 at the parish hall of St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in Buckhead. Cremation Society of Georgia is in charge of arrangements.
During the 1950s, Dean bought and sold residential property in Buckhead and managed to come out ahead on the transactions, a feat he jokingly attributed to his “Dumb Luck Realty Company.” With the money he made, he invested in underdeveloped commercial properties on Moreland and Euclid avenues.
As the principal partner in the Little Five Points Partnership, he rehabbed five buildings there, some of them multi-tenant structures, and played a leading role in the revitalization of that neighborhood, said his son Britt Dean of Decatur.
Dean wasn’t all work. He and his wife of 68 years, Martha Dean, enjoyed playing tennis, going whitewater rafting in North Georgia and traveling to Europe. He often arranged their travels to sample the fine wines of Germany, Italy and France, their son said.
Surviving beside his wife and son Britt are a daughter, Elizabeth Dean Griffith of Chattahoochee Hills; three other sons, T. Wesley Dean of Peachtree City, David Dean of Flowery Branch and DeForest Dean of Mobile, Ala.; a half brother, Robert Leon Dean, also of Mobile, and 10 grandchildren.