Former state Sen. Nathan Delano Dean died Saturday morning in Polk County after dedicating his 79-year life to serving Georgia.
“[He was] working for the people every day no matter what the capacity, always making time for everybody,” Alan Dean, Nathan Dean’s eldest son, said. “I guess, you know, it was a mission in [his] life to help people.”
Nathan Dean served in the U.S. Army after graduating from what is now Shorter University. He served as a member of the Rockmart City Council for four years before being elected to the Georgia House of Representatives, where he served for 12 years. He was then elected to the Georgia State Senate, where he worked for 30 more years.
But while Nathan Dean continued to better his career, he never forgot where he came from, said current mayor of Dallas, Ga., Boyd Austin, who worked with the senator for most of his life.
“He never forgot those humble roots and the people that put him there,” Austin said. “He truly was a peoples’ senator.”
In fact, on his way to meet with the Dean family, Austin passed a sign for Nathan Dean Parkway and noticed that somebody decorated the sign with a spray of flowers.
“A lot of people knew and loved him and thought of him as their senator, which sets him apart in today’s world,” Austin said.
In his obituary on Freeman Harris Funeral Home’s website, Nathan Dean is quoted as saying that he “was born to serve people and shake hands.”
Even after he retired as senator, Nathan kept serving the people of Georgia. He became a member of the Board for the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, where he served for six more years.
Amos Sparks, a former Houston County commissioner who worked with Nathan Dean for “the better part of 20 years,” said said he never saw the senator “run out of gas” when it came to his job.
“He could be in five cities in the same day,” Sparks said. “He was on the go every day, he knew the budget in and out — he was really on top of everything. He was the greatest politician I knew of. We’ll all miss him.”
Nathan Dean is survived by Ann Carpenter Dean, his wife of more than 50 years, and his two sons and daughter-in-laws: Alan and Durand Dean of Rockmart and Scot and Keri Dean of Cedartown. He is also survived by three grandchildren, Steven, Ana Scott and Mason; one brother, four sisters and several nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.
Nathan Dean’s funeral service is scheduled for Tuesday at 2 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of Rockmart and an interment will follow in the family lot of Rose Hill Cemetery with the West Georgia Masonic Memorial Club — of which he was a member — in charge of the Masonic graveside rites.
His family will meet with friends in the Great Room at the First Baptist Church of Rockmart on Monday from 5 to 9 p.m.