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Dean Norris Holland
(July 18, 1928 - May 2, 2013)

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Dean Norris Holland

U.S. Veteran

of Golden, Colorado died May 2, 2013 after three weeks of illness in the hospital and at Collier Hospice Center in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. His Memorial and Celebration of Life Service will be held at 10:00 am on Wednesday, May 8 at Mile Hi Church, 9077 West Alameda Avenue, Lakewood. (Please note correct service time is 10:00 am, not 10:30 as noted in the newspaper notice.)

Dean was born on July 18, 1928 in Denver, Colorado to Lyle Abram Holland and Gladys Harriet Brown Holland, who had moved to Denver from Edgemont, South Dakota after their marriage in 1922. Dean grew up in Denver in the City Park area, but often spent summers with his Aunt Sue and Uncle Red Bird at their home in Red Bird, Wyoming, helping at their General Store and Conoco Gas Station which was 35 miles from the nearest town of Lusk.

Dean developed his love of music when he joined the band at Morey Junior High because he liked a girl who played clarinet in the band. He found his passion for being a drummer and never gave it up. Dean’s parents bought the Castle Marne in 1938 which was an apartment building at the time. He lived there and attended East High School until his parents divorced, when he and his mother moved to Los Angeles, California. There he continued drum lessons and left high school to join and travel with the Jimmie Grier Band--the first of many bands he played with through the years.

In 1949 Dean enlisted with the Air Force and served in the Air Force Band and also played with the Air Force Dance Band. He always spoke proudly of playing for the service men as they boarded their troop transports. While in the Air Force in Denver, he met Betty Chambers and they married in 1950. After leaving the Air Force in 1952, Dean sought a profession that did not require the traveling of the life of a musician so he could raise a family. He attended chiropractic school and graduated in 1956 and practiced with Dr. Phil Sweet and then at Spears Chiropractic Clinic. Betty and Dean had three children, Diana, Kathie and Phillip prior to divorcing in 1960.

During the early 1960s Dean continued to practice as a chiropractor and play drums with bands on weekend evenings. He spent much of his time while living with his father, Lyle, at the Castle Marne enjoying their joint love of anything mechanical or with electronics. They often spent their time in Lyle’s shop tinkering on cars and building hi-fi equipment and speakers and later even a color television. During this time Dean became interested in racing and raced go-karts at local tracks, winning many trophies. They also traveled together to Indy 500 races.

In 1964 Dean married Audrey MacCluskey, a singer and elementary school teacher. Together they raised Audrey’s two children, Karen and Phillip MacCluskey in Denver in what Karen fondly calls the yellow house on Monroe. In the early 1970s Dean left the chiropractic practice and they moved to Greeley to work at Audrey’s parents’ business, Bachman Office Supply. After settling in Greeley, Dean followed his dream of taking after Uncle Red and had his own gas station, the 9th Street Exxon. Diana worked there for a time while attending college at the University of Northern Colorado and Phillip worked there with his dad one summer. Dean used to talk about the long lines of vehicles waiting for gas during the 1973 gas crisis.

Dean continued to play the drums in various bands through the years. While in northern Colorado he played with Carl Zeller. As this was Dean’s main passion, he worked at various professions including electronics technician, office equipment technician, music store sales and instrument repair and convenience store manager. Dean and Audrey divorced in the early 1980s.

After leaving Greeley, Dean spent a great deal of time in his spiritual quest and studied with Scientology. He lived with and cared for his mother, Gladys. He met Virginia Rex, a widow, at a Scientology retreat and they married on November 20, 1984 in Las Vegas, Nevada. They lived in the Applewood area of Golden, Colorado overlooking the sights and lights of Denver from the house perched on Table Mountain. Dean loved the openness, light and the view. He continued to play his drums until his early 70s, and his family enjoyed his playing during the celebration at his 70th birthday party.

Dean retired from work at 77 years of age, after a serious fall, breaking his ankle that required surgery and some rehab. He continued to enjoy spending time with his pet cats and dog, as well as learning piano and playing guitar, watching NASCAR and Indy races, movies and westerns. He also enjoyed family parties and outings to Grand Prix races, the Renaissance Fair, wildlife experiences and sanctuaries, museums and movies.

Dean will be lovingly remembered by his children, Diana Holland, Kathie and (Steve) Baratta, Phillip Dean Holland, and his stepchildren he helped raise, Karen MacCluskey and Phillip Mike and (Eden) MacCluskey. Their children Susan, Jessica, Stefanie, Lauren, Melissa and greatgrandson Jack, Melody, Kurtis, Tara and Zuri will also never forget their grandfather.

Dean’s wife, Virginia, was devoted to him and cared for him in his later years, so he could continue to enjoy his home and not enter long-term care. Virginia and her sons, Bill Rex and Steve and (Sherri) Rex will always hold Dean in their hearts. Steve’s sons, Cody and Coulter will also remember Dean as the only Grandfather they ever had.

The family wishes to express its appreciation to the Collier Hospice Center for the care given Dean and the support to his family in his last days. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the charity of your choice.

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