The last time we spoke we talked about angel’s wings. You know the ones painted on the side of buildings that people stand in front of to take pictures. We were talking about ideas for IBS and the idea of pop-up angel’s wings was something we both liked. We discussed the branding and call to action and the potential follow-up ideas after the show. The angel’s wings were a part of the conversation that included our children, our businesses, personal woes, and our health. This was the last conversation I had with my best friend of 25 years, Dean, before he passed away.
I was introduced to Dean at the kick-off meeting for a new magazine titled Professional Remodeler. Dean handed out his business cards to all of us in the room. The cards were fresh off the press. He was experiencing the flop sweats so the ink smudged on the cards. I love telling this story and, after hearing me tell it for decades, Dean told me he hated it.
Dean was a big idea person and I liked to challenge him to pull off the craziest of them. The first one that comes to mind is when he hired a gospel choir to introduce his presentation to the NAHB Remodelors Council at a Board meeting. Of course, Dean joined the choir in robe and all.
I once challenged Dean to have a marching band with angry midget clowns perform “Louie, Louie” at Show Village outside the Georgia Dome and Convention Center. Imagine how fantastic it was to walk outside to hear the band playing and the clowns entertaining.
During a family vacation on the Outer Banks, Dean, my son Andrew, and I volunteered to pick up the boiling pot dinner. We decided to stop at an empty go kart track for a little racing which turned into a demolition derby. I can see the owner running out on the track hollering at us to stop running into one another. It was so fun to be a kid again.
Dean and I shared 1,000s of conversation over the years. Dinners, trade shows, NAHB meetings and darts and Guinness, car trips with Slim Jims and Slurpies, long talks about our children, and, of course, business. We talked about The Mel, Oh Shit! Magazine, his difficult life growing up, and so much, much more. These conversations always included laughter, often were serious, and occasionally included a few tears.
Dean’s move to North Carolina meant we could see one another regularly, so we agreed to meet in a small town halfway between our two homes. Following one of our working dates, while walking to our cars, we came across a KKK rally in the town square. I shit you not.
When the pandemic sequestered us in our homes, I began a video and blog series titled “There is a Difference.” It showcases people that approach business and life differently. I asked Dean if I could interview him for the series. He agreed. We quickly learned during the planning that two smart ass friends bantering was not going to work for this project. We agreed a podcast titled “Dean and Shawn” was a great idea though. It was planned for 2022.
Dean conducted the interview with my daughter, Abby, who has loved Dean since she was a little one. Here are a couple of outtakes from the interview.
The full, uncut video is amazing. I look forward to sharing it with you in the future. You can watch the edited interview and read the interview by clicking HERE.
So Much More
I chose to write down my memories of my friend upon learning of his passing simply to cope with the incredible grief, loss, and emptiness I am feeling. The more I write the more memories I have. My life is more rich, more interesting, and more fulfilling because of my relationship and friendship with Dean. I told him this often. More recently because of the hardships he was experiencing. He is everywhere in my life. On my phone, my computer, in my notes, and, most importantly, in my heart.
I love and miss you Dean.
Dean was an award-winning publisher of trade media and an innovator in the building industry. He was fun, funny, caring, and complex. Dean loved and was loved deeply.
I know there are many people that have their Dean stories. I invite you to share them in the forum of your choice. It is my intent to gather in Orlando immediately prior to the start of IBS to host a time for us to informally share our Dean stories with one another and raise a glass of the finest wine to our friend. If you are interested in being a part of this gathering, look for a post after the new year with more details.