Russell E. “Diz” Dean, 92, Green Bay, died after a short illness at St. Mary’s Hospital on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011. He was born July 2, 1919, in Navarino, Wis., to Dewey and Mildred Dean. Russ’s nickname “Diz” came from legendary baseball pitcher, Dizzy Dean. Russ proudly served in the United States Marine Corps (USMC) during World War II as a Corporal in the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion, the predecessor of all United States Special Forces. The Marine Raiders made the initial ground combat offensives against the Japanese in World War II. He served under the command of Lt. Col. Evans Carlson (“Gung-ho”) in a new U.S. Marine Corps combat organization known as “Carlson’s Raiders”. He served in the defense of the Battle of Midway and in the Battle of Guadalcanal in the Pacific War. After his transfer from the Pacific, he was stationed at the Quantico Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Va., where he trained other Marines in the use of firearms. Russ served as an expert sharpshooter and expert rifleman at Quantico. “Semper Fi”
On Oct. 20, 1944, he married Buena “Bunny” Lee Buchanan in Arlington, Va. Following the war, he and Bunny relocated back to Green Bay where he worked part-time for his father in Dewey’s Bar on North Broadway Street. He and Bunny eventually raised five children together. In 1953, he began Russ Dean Distributing, a local wholesale beer distributor. It later became Dean Distributing, Inc. with distribution warehouses in Green Bay and Rhinelander. Russ was Chairman Emeritus of Dean’s at the time of his passing. Under Russ’s foresight and guidance, Dean Distributing Inc. grew to become one of the largest and most respected Anheuser-Busch beer wholesalers in the Midwest, servicing over 2,000 retail customers in 10 counties in the State of Wisconsin. He was especially proud to see the business grow to eventually include three generations of the Dean family. Russ truly was “The King of Beers” to everyone who knew him throughout his 58 years in the beer business. He treasured his Budweiser beer, “For All You Do, This Bud’s For You, Dad!”
Russ was married again on Aug. 20, 1976, to Betty Mayer in Houghton, Mich. He and Betty loved to travel and both traveled the world extensively during their lifetimes. He wintered on South Padre Island, Texas, for many years before returning to the area to spend their remaining time together at their home on Kelly Lake and their home in Indian Trails. Russ was beloved for his great sense of memory, humor and wit. His family and his many friends witnessed many of his engaging stories. He will be sadly missed by all who knew and loved him.
Russ was a member of the United States Marine Raider Association, the American Legion Post #11 Sullivan-Wallen, a Free and Accepted Mason with Washington Lodge #21 and Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry/Valley of Green Bay.
Survivors include five children, Billy and Mary Jo Dean, Green Bay; Linda Dean, Seattle; James and Jill Dean, Hobart and their children, Joshua and Kyle Dean, Shannon (Bryan) Schwebke; Robert Dean, Green Bay and his children, Bobby and Jimmy Dean, Gabriele Nelson (niece); Patty (Dean) and Greg Dow, Suamico and their children, Danielle, Marissa and Taylor Dow. He was furthered survived by his stepdaughter, Debbie Mineau and his step-grandchildren, Nicholas (Brittany) and Ashley and his step-great grandchildren, Nick Jr. and Jake.
Russell was preceded in death by both of his parents; his wives, Buena and Betty; and his daughter-in-law, Michele Dean.
Friends may call at Blaney Funeral Home, 1521 Shawano Ave., from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Saturday. The Funeral Service will be held 11 a.m. Saturday at the funeral home with the Rev. Donald Behrendt officiating. Burial will be in Nicolet Memorial Gardens.
A memorial fund has been established in his name.
The Dean family would like to express their many thanks to Dr. Sinclair, Dr. Sylvester, Dr. Tucker and Dr. Atta-Flynn at St. Mary’s Hospital for their generous, and loving care of Dad. The family also wishes to thank the many St. Mary’s nurses, more especially the nurses on 3rd Floor ICU, 3rd Floor Medical and 5th Floor Surgical.