This memorial website was created in memory of our beloved father, Dean Dellinger, born on   February 12, 1929 and passed away at 85, on May 30, 2014. We will love and treasure him forever.

Memorial Service for DEAN MILTON DELLINGER was held on
July 12, 2014 at Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, in Rialto, CA.

In honor of Dean's numerous years of teaching music from elementary school to college level, there was a mini-concert of a brass quartet with the memorial service immediately following. A reception followed with a light lunch.

Inurnment and committal service for
BARBARA LOU & DEAN MILTON DELLINGER was held on July 13, 2014 at 
Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church, Lake Arrowhead, CA.

Barbara and Dean are together again for their eternal heavenly life.

The Family thanks all of the friends and family who attended the services, your presence made them both wonderful, joyous, touching and memorable events. It is so fitting that both Mom and Dad's  journey has ended where they spent so much of their love and life!

Daughter Denice joined mom & dad in paradise on 12/19/2014, after a long, valiant, and courageous fight with lung cancer.

The Family requests that you please share your special photo memories of Dean in your lives! Kindly compress the photos for "Web Page" to maximize the web sites interactive speed. Also please add your thoughts and memories for all to share and enjoy!

As you visit this site please enjoy some of the music Dean made possible all his life!

Posted by Eric Kaelberer on May 30, 2020
Dear Allan and Barbara,
   On this 6th anniversary of Dean's heavenly homecoming the memories are still fresh, not only of those last days, but of so many other days. I recall him leading the band at the college and looking so vibrant. God bless you!
Posted by Eric Kaelberer on May 30, 2019
Dear Allan and Barbara,
   On this 5th anniversary of Dean's heavenly homecoming the memories are still fresh, not only of those last days, which were difficult and precious, but of so many years, so many good times. How he loved not only you and all of his family, but oh, how he loved his Savior, Jesus! His eyes sparkled, his whole countenance lit up as he sang to the glory of his Savior. Kawai and I send all our love to you.
Posted by Allan Dellinger on February 13, 2019
Dear Dad!
I can't believe it has almost been 5 years since we said good bye! My thoughts continue to remember so many fond memories of your love, which we try to carry on with your Great Grand children, and extended family. Love always, your son.
Posted by Becky Huskey on February 12, 2018
Dearest Daddy,
Another year passes, and yet you're still in all our thoughts and prayers. You left such an impression on so many lives. Love you and miss you forever.
Posted by Shelly Wearing on February 12, 2018
Happy Birthday Mr. Dellinger “Dean”. Miss you so. You will always be my treasured musical inspiration.

With love,

Posted by Allan Dellinger on May 31, 2017
Dad we sure do miss you and Love you more every day. Just had some good times reminiscing with Sally, grand daughter Alissa and Julie Friday evening! Thanks for the memories!
Posted by Becky Huskey on May 31, 2017
I can't believe it's been 3 years since you have been gone from us. I love you so Daddy and think of you so often fondly. Once again, thanks for the love and guidance you always gave us. Hugs! Miss you so. Bec
Posted by Barbara Dellinger on May 30, 2017
Think of you often, miss you always.
Love you, Barb
Posted by Becky Huskey on February 12, 2017
Oh how I miss you Daddy. We miss you all; Momma, Jon, Ken, Denice and your smiling face. Thank you for your years of love and guidance. You're always in my heart!
Posted by Joanne Varino on May 30, 2016
I still remember Dean as my mother Jean Varino played bass and he played the piano. She worked with him for many years and I miss my mother dearly as you miss your father. My mother Jean Varino passed away in 1992. My mother and Dean made wonderful music together and I was lucky to see them perform once. God bless your family. Sincerely Joanne Varino
Posted by Barbara Dellinger on February 13, 2016
Happy heavenly birthday, Dad.
Posted by Becky Huskey on February 13, 2016
Dear Daddy
Miss you so much. Not a day goes by that I don't think of you. I miss our walks, holding hands, through your park. I miss being able to talk "shop"-"teaching music stories" and complaining about the politics involved. Hee Hee. You were the best Daddy and such a mentor for so many. Love you always!
Posted by James Newman on July 19, 2015
Mr. Dellinger was a bright light and made students comfortable
I am saddened to know about his passing
Jim Newman, Rim High Class of 1966
Posted by Dolores Smith on June 6, 2015
Memories are forever & I know your family & everyone cherish each and every memory - you are missed
Posted by Becky Huskey on June 2, 2015
How proud we are of our Daddy. This Memorial Scholarship is truly special and just another way to keep Dad's love of music and dedication alive. How wonderful his memory will help train more young musicians.
Posted by Penny Mercer on May 31, 2015
What a wonderful tribute to a wonderful man! He would be so happy to have this memorial scholarship in his name as his love for music was so evident his whole life! A degree in Music and then teaching music to all ages from kids to adults for over 30 years. He dedicated his life to music by singing and playing for so many groups whether it was recitals, gigs, or just for family and friends. He had a true passion for his music. Now this scholarship will enable another person to learn to love it as much as he did. Love and Miss you Uncle Dean
Posted by Allan Dellinger on May 31, 2015
Dear Dad, this has been the toughest year of my life, without you being here in body. I miss your laugh, your smile, your care and the love you always gave in so many ways!

Tomorrow we have another Big Band concert, the last this year, at Mt. San Jacinto college.
Well Dad, I guess you are just going to keep "living and giving" on in a way, because they have established and are announcing the "Dean Dellinger Memorial Scholarship"!

I know you would have been deeply humbled and very honored! WE ARE ALSO!
Posted by Barbara Dellinger on May 30, 2015
Can't believe it's already been one year, Dad. Still see your smiling face. Miss you and Mom and Denice so much.
Posted by Debbie Schwartz on May 30, 2015
He was such a sweet and very talented man! Loved your dad! Will always remember the great concerts he did at Mt. San Jacinto. Miss him very much!
Posted by Cindy Castellano on May 30, 2015
Your Dad & Mom were so sweet & loving people to me and my family. I miss and love them
Posted by Kim Franzen on May 30, 2015
Posted by Lillian T Schlentz on February 15, 2015
Dean will always be remembered here at Lake Park Soboba Springs. He was a special, kind man and could sing up a storm entertaining all of us. Barbara, his wife played bridge with many of us and she is missed as well. Losing someone is difficult but at least they are together and will be waiting for many of us when we go Thanks so much for sharing with so many of us. Lots of LOVE too.
Posted by Barbara Dellinger on February 13, 2015
With much love, Dad, Happy Birthday. We miss you so.
Posted by David Parrott on February 12, 2015
Happy Birthday to a dear friend. He is so missed...
Posted by Don Peterson on February 12, 2015
I grew up with Dean from grade school thru high school. He was one of my best friends and we played together in band and dance bands. He was a fine musician. We knew what true friendship was.
Posted by Angela Fuller on February 12, 2015
Thinking of you today Mr. Dillinger! Celebrate your heavenly birthday!
Posted by Kim Franzen on February 12, 2015
Posted by Becky Huskey on February 12, 2015
Happy Birthday Dear Daddy. I miss you so. I hope you and Momma and Nicee are all serenading the heavens together. Love you so.
Posted by Penny Mercer on February 12, 2015
Thinking of you everyday and especially on this day. You were such a fun, loving and inspiring uncle. The whole Mercer Family misses you. I know you are singing with the angels in heaven and wife Barb and daughter Denice. Love you
Posted by Dean Michael on January 3, 2015
I came across this memorial by accident and was sad to learn of Mr. D's passing. I was in his 6th, 7th and 8th grade band class at Mary P. Henk Intermediate School 1974 through 1976. He was one of my all-time favorite teachers and contributed to my life-long love of music. He taught me trumpet, baritone, and french horn. I will always remember him very fondly.
Posted by Ira Pasternack on August 4, 2014
We lost a very kind and gentle man with Mr. D's passing and I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to have known him as a band student, friend and surrogate son. The memories are a little fuzzy now, 50 years later, but I still remember the thrill of receiving a tonette (my first musical instrument) in one of Mr. D's fourth grade music classes at Lake Arrowhead Elementary. I remember the ear training and testing Mr. D gave us later and his encouragement for me to take on the French Horn because he said I had a good ear for music. Music is still a very, very important part of my life today, though I gave up the French Horn in high school so I could play football at Rim. Junior and Senior years the Rim football team held "Father and Sons" games and Mr. D and Grandpa Bretzer were kind enough to accept the role of my "Father" on the sideline as my own Father couldn't make it to those games. After Rim, I needed a place to stay for awhile and Mr. and Mrs. D were kind enough to open their home to me as long as I needed until I found a place of my own. A couple of years ago when Big Al, Barb and Mr. D stopped to visit us in Denver while enroute to see family in Nebraska, Jill and I were delighted to see that Mr. D still maintained his dry sense of humor and were very happy to share a few laughs--and he had a wonderful laugh--with him. Thank you for all of your encouragement as a teacher and all of your kindness over the years, Mr. D. May God rest your and Mrs. D's souls. Ira
Posted by Kathleen Holm on July 26, 2014
I knew Dean through my Grace Lutheran Church friends, Barb and Allan Dellinger, his son. I remember Dean's wonderful smile and fun-loving personality. We were blessed to hear him play trumpet solos and duets for our church each Easter Season and sometimes for Reformation Sunday. I also enjoyed watching and listening to him direct and play the trumpet for The Golden Eagles Big Band. His enthusiasm for music was contagious! As his health waned, Dean still smiled joyously and engaged in humorous conversation with anyone who was nearby. He always was a delight to be around. I know he's up in heaven as one of God's trumpeting angels and upon entering the pearly gates, probably lead the band in "When the Saints Go Marching In!"
Posted by Kathy Ward on July 15, 2014
I had the opportunity to have Mr. Dellinger as a teacher in a college course offered in Lake Arrowhead. We were an adult jazz ensemble and did we have fun!  One time he had us sing at Patton Hospital in San Bernardino and we all wore dresses! (We had a good laugh afterwards about that.)  But we sure did sing well and we all enjoyed our time together. It was a great experience.

What a great man and I'm glad I had the opportunity to be around this man, his talent and creativity, for a time.
Posted by Jeannette Vasilakis on July 13, 2014
Dear Family,
I want to thank you for sharing your wonderful Dad. He was a very important person in my life. His class was the high light of my day. I wish I could be with you all today but I am sitting with family and they will be joining your dad soon. I will never forget what your Dad taught me and a lot of what he taught I have passed down to my kids. I am so sorry for your loss it's hard to lose a parent . Your dad lives on in you and I know it will be standing room only today because he lives on in very student that he taught. I was so blessed to say my teacher was Mr. Dean Dellinger.
Posted by Dorinda Moore on July 12, 2014
My brother and I were never in band while at Rim, but we all knew Mr. D. He was always a gentlemen and kind person. I know all of the classmates who were in band, loved him dearly. They always seemed to have fun in his classes.

From our family, Lillian, Perry and Dorinda Moore, our deepest sympathy goes out to your family.
Posted by Bruce Rubio on July 12, 2014
Dean Dellinger (Mr. D), was a great and inspiring music teacher and I am forever grateful to have been one of his students. When I was in 8th grade, Mr. D issued me the school's new Buffet tenor sax and well, I liked it.... a lot (tears). 30 years later, I'm teaching band in the room where Mr. D taught me and music/saxophone is my passion. On occasion he would bring his trumpet to MPH and play in my band class; full circle! Thank you Mr. D! Forever remembered, Bruce Rubio
Posted by Don Peterson on July 12, 2014
Dean and I started together in the 4th grade in DeKalb, IL We were close friends and did a lot of things together as teenagers. We played together in our first dance band experience for valentines day in 1946 also the year we graduated together. We kept in constant contact over the years and shared many memories. Don Peterson, Oklahoma City.
Posted by Allan Dellinger on July 11, 2014
Sent by Cindy Kellogg White for Gloria and Lester Dement.

Lester was Rim of the World Unified School District Superintendent for many years while Dean taught.

Cyndi, honey...Please pass this message on to Denice, Allan and all the Dellinger family. I am inept when it comes to computers and don't know how to reach them. Thank you...

Dear Dellinger family,

We are saddened to hear that Dean has passed on. He and Barb were outstanding human beings, full of kindness and goodness in addition to their fine talents. As Lester struggles with his Alzheimer's Disease, he remains in the world of the Rim of the World school years and never forgot Dean whose contribution to the education of youngsters was a mighty one. Dean was a really good man and will be missed by many. I tried to explain the loss to Lester who remembers him remarkably well. He remarked sadly that Dean was such a good friend to students and staff in his music teaching career. 

Our sympathy and prayerful wishes to all from

Gloria and Lester DeMent and family.
Posted by Claudia Simmons on July 11, 2014
What a warm generous man Dean was. He treated me so kindly from the date I met him. When I think of him, I find that I am smiling. May he meet his lovely soul mate Barbara and live in eternity happily together.
Posted by Lillian T Schlentz on July 11, 2014
I missed your Dad before he passed away. Hewas such a gentle man and your Mom playedd bridge with us each week when she felt well. They are both missed by a community who carred deeply for both of them. Dad was a wonderful musician and so kind. He brought his group to sing for us and then he himself sang. /god be good to all of you and many blessings. I am so sorry I can not be there. I have had surgery this spring and it forbids a lengthy drive. I ws hoping wome one would say they were going. I have told some and it will be in our paper this next month. Thank you for letting me know about it. Much Love coming your way.
Posted by Christian Eaton on July 11, 2014
It's not easy to know just how to summarize in words what Dean's life meant to so many people. If richness is exemplified by living for the glory of God, Dean & Barb are examples of just that. Our families began together in Lake Arrowhead. They lived on Dolly Varden in a rental house and we lived in a rental just up from Arrowhead Village. Dean taught music at Rim High and my Dad had just begun as the school's football coach and a biology teacher. We shared a winter together as they welcomed us to Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church, our lives intertwined in many ways from then on.

Over the years we had many adventures together, perhaps the favorite of which was a summer at Lake Powell in Arizona with the Eaton's "Taco Boat," billowing tents that we could hardly keep staked down, and then later, on another summer there with a newer boat and more adventures. Dean taught all the Eaton kids instrumental music, and even facilitated the purchase of a great silver Olds Trumpet through a friend of his who played in his "seniors" band in Hemet. This one was for my own son, Justin, who then passed it onto our grand-daughter who now plays it.

I worked for Barb, along with Alan, for several years at the old Arrowhead Village Market. She was the manager who managed to keep Mr. Spafford out of bankruptcy, and kept the store going strong for a number of years, until the old village was finally burned down to make way for the current Alpine Village.

And did the Dellinger kids and Eaton kids grow up together? It would fill a book to share all the episodes. The Christmas children's programs at Mt. Calvary nearly did Barb in, and the many evenings together sharing school activities, family adventures and mis-adventures over dinners or deserts would bring us to tears with laughter and joys, as well as those shed for one another. Dean and Ed Eaton served as Elders together for many years at Mt. Calvary, and the spiritual heritage they and our moms passed onto us has been the foundation for our lives as well. Suffice it to say, Dean had a profound influence on all our lives. Yes, he is greatly missed, but the joy of knowing we will be reunited around God's throne one day gives us the hope to lift our hearts and sing God's praise (hopefully in tune together :)) for his life and what he brought to us all. Many thanks, Dean. You too, Barb. -Chris
Posted by Martha Lingo on July 10, 2014
We have fond memories of Dean & Barbara... brief as they were. They lived as our neighbors, 2 doors down on Fulton St., Hemet. Our brief encounter ended when they moved, but we always kept up while they were living in town. Barbara for her china painting and Dean for his music! Very nice people! Jack & Martha Lingo
Posted by Sam Goepp on July 10, 2014
I had the distinct pleassure of knowing Dean for over 20 years--He was the inspiration of the senior band that rehearsed weekly at Valley-Wide Recreation and Park Districts Sports Center--A positive soul and kind heart--rest in peace--
Posted by Shelly Wearing on July 10, 2014
I met Dean "Mr. Dellinger" when I was 12 years old, only a short 36 years ago. Mr.; Dellinger was my first introduction to music and inspired me to continue on as I learned how to play music on my saxophone. My life from that beginning was forever changed. I had the greatest honor in playing under his direction in the Golden Eagles Big Band when our relationship was rekindled back in 2000 when I moved to Hemet, CA. I have been in the Golden Eagles Big Band since and have felt honored in being a part of Dean's life. Dean, "Mr. Dellinger", you will be forever missed. I will see you again someday to play music with you and all the angels in heaven. Til we meet again. Michelle "Shelly" Wearing.
Posted by Angela Fuller on July 10, 2014
Mr Dellinger was a great mentor to me and began to teach me to play the alto-sax in the 4th grade. I was following after my sister Michelle Bacon. Bobby Beglau, Dawn Moore, Brenda Nelson...many others, we had great times playing in the band. I got to enjoy seeing Dean at the Big Band concerts as well and see my sister play. He will be forever missed!
Angela Bacon
Posted by Heather Gonzalez-Leaton on July 10, 2014
I really enjoyed having Mr. Dellinger as my music teacher in 6 and 7. I have really fond memories of him as a really great teacher. It was a privilege to learn music from him. He will be greatly missed.
Posted by Don Grambusch on July 9, 2014
Just a note about a very nice man that touched many lives as he lived his. My 3 brothers and myself all had Mr. Dellinger for our band teacher. Always fun to be around and I can remember the great times we had on Boy Scout camping trips. Memories run very deep and Mr. Dellinger you were a part of many and will be missed. Very fortunate to see you at the class of 1970 reunion. RIP from the Grambusch family.
Posted by Diane Kline on July 8, 2014
Jim and I have been a part of the Dellinger “extended family” for many years.  We celebrated birthdays, anniversaries, confirmations, graduations, etc. - giving us the opportunity to know and love their whole family. Dean always greeted me with open arms and a loving smile. He was so tender-hearted. While Dean was living at Leisure Point, I had the pleasure of assisting him with tasks he was unable to do by himself in his last years.  You would not be able to find another man so appreciative of anything you did for him.  His love was in his heart and eyes. I would do anything for that man.  A greater representative of love (with the exception of our dear Lord, whom Dean knew and loved, and my husband) I do not know. I will truly miss that smile of his.
Posted by Denice Caouette on July 8, 2014
My Dearest Daddy,
How can I ever thank you for all of the love and support you gave me over the years? I was often not an easy child to raise, but you and Mommy were always there for me with love and a hug and more support than anyone ever could ask for me. Thank you for teaching me about life and for all the music you put in my life, although it was many years before I learned to appreciate all of these gifts. There is a huge hole in my heart now that you and mommy have gone, but I know that you are now together with our Lord in Heaven, and I thank you both for the gift of teaching me to have faith. I love you always, and you will stay in my heart forever. Your Loving Daughter, Denice
Posted by Jerry Waidner on July 8, 2014
As a graduate of ROTWUJSHS, ’64-’70, I knew and respected ‘Mr. D’, just like everyone else in the place. I was frightened at an early age by a violin, so I missed the opportunity [much to my later regret] to be taught by this gifted educator, but I had many friends who were, and to a wo/man, they loved this man.

I am pretty certain that we had a uniformly excellent faculty at Rim, yet even so, he stuck out as a superior being. I recall an episode during one of the four minute segments we had between classes, right outside the band room.

A mouse had gotten stuck in an empty trashcan, and surrounded by shouting boys and girls, was terrified; squeaking, leaping, running and banging into the can’s sides. The commotion brought Mr. D to the hall, where he shooed everyone away and carried the can outside to release the mouse from it’s Rubbermaid prison. Awaiting the return of Mrs. Garrison to her English class down the hall, I was still in the hallway when he returned. He saw me there and said: “I know you’re a good kid, Jerry, but that’s one of the cruelest things I’ve ever seen at this school. What were you thinking?” I replied that I hadn’t put the mouse in the garbage. He replied, “Maybe not, but you didn’t take him out, either.” He wasn’t angry, but clearly disappointed. “Humans are often the only thing standing between an innocent animal and it’s mistreatment by others.” I immediately began to tear up, confronted with my callousness, and he patted me on the shoulder and said: “It’s okay, I don’t think any harm was done, but maybe next time you’ll see something like this and stop it, in case I’m not nearby.”

From that moment on, I would’ve attempted to learn the violin if he had asked me to. Now THAT’s a teacher!

Rest in Peace, Alan M. Dellinger, I’m not sure If I’ll make the pearly gates, but I think St. Peter will offer you a signing bonus. Hold out for the biggest harp on cloud No. 9! I don't think Harpo will mind.
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Recent Tributes
Posted by Eric Kaelberer on May 30, 2020
Dear Allan and Barbara,
   On this 6th anniversary of Dean's heavenly homecoming the memories are still fresh, not only of those last days, but of so many other days. I recall him leading the band at the college and looking so vibrant. God bless you!
Posted by Eric Kaelberer on May 30, 2019
Dear Allan and Barbara,
   On this 5th anniversary of Dean's heavenly homecoming the memories are still fresh, not only of those last days, which were difficult and precious, but of so many years, so many good times. How he loved not only you and all of his family, but oh, how he loved his Savior, Jesus! His eyes sparkled, his whole countenance lit up as he sang to the glory of his Savior. Kawai and I send all our love to you.
Posted by Allan Dellinger on February 13, 2019
Dear Dad!
I can't believe it has almost been 5 years since we said good bye! My thoughts continue to remember so many fond memories of your love, which we try to carry on with your Great Grand children, and extended family. Love always, your son.
Recent stories

Memorial Service Beginning of Service

Shared by Allan Dellinger on July 18, 2014

Memories of My First Music Teacher

Shared by David Stewart on July 10, 2014

I registered for choir in 1978. Never been in a choir and no formal singing experience. It was the year that Mr. Dellinger stated was the largest class he has ever had to audition. There was no way to excuse all of those 12-14 year olds for a private auditionl. So in front of the entire class, Dean went from row by row, asking one person at a time to state their name and musical range. There were only 4 boys including me auditioning. All I heard from girl to girl was, "soprano,...soprano,...alto,...soprano, etc." So when it was my turn, I blurted out, "Soprano!" Mr. Dellinger didn't laugh or snicker. He just had this beaming smile on his face. In that distinct, commanding voice of his, he asked me to follow the piano while he played various major scales in various pitches. Eventually he figured out that I was in fact,...a baritone.

Although he was only 49 years old at the time (then he seemed 60's to me) he didn't put us down for the music style that we were interested in. He was always encouraging our musical development. In fact, he even allowed me to back up the choir playing guitar for the song, "Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again" by The Fortunes. At least he let us sing a song from that same decade.

Due to this mutual respect for music, we sort of started appreciating Mr. Dellinger's  jazz background. One day, Dean decided to introduce us to improvisational singing, called "scat." As he played a standard jazz I-IV-V progression, he allowed anyone from class to come up and try to scat a solo. Like always, he was so encouraging. We all had fun and never felt like we were being judged or made fun of no matter how silly or nonsensical our phrasing was. 

About 4 years later, I saw Dean play in a jazz quartet with my then High School Jazz Band instructor, JIm Gibford. I didn't hone my jazz playing skills until college. But if I had that ability sooner, I would have loved to sit in with Dean just to play some Joe Pass riffs and Tommy Tedesco fills. 

I can only imagine how much Mr. Dellinger enriched those lives of those around him. He was a safe room in those insecure awkward years of middle school. He was such a positive roll model. I will always be able to hear his voice in my head. Nobody else could use that voice to command the attention of such a large class with a limited attention span. I am so proud to call him my first music teacher. And what a great first music teacher to have learned from.


"You Rat"

Shared by David Parrott on July 9, 2014

One of my fondest nicknames was unceremoniously bestowed upon me by Dean:  He called me "You Rat".  Though, by no means, does it seems like a name that ought to be cherished.... But it, and the the story behind it, is.  

I have been lucky enough to be employed at Mt. San Jacinto College in the Music Department for nearly 20 years.  Before I was employed there, I was a student... and Dean was my music instuctor.  As a trumpet player, Dean taught me the finer points of brass playing:  Saxes are always out of tune, so always blame them; clarinet players can't hold a beat to save their lives; trombone players are always "almost" as good as trumpet players (at least they're brass players); etc. etc... the finer points of being a musician.  I also played trumpet with Dean in the college's Golden Eagles Big Bands.  Thus, he and I formed a wonderful relationship.

While working at in the Music Department one morning, I decided I should go in to the orchestra room and say good morning to Dean before his first student of the day arrived.  When I walked in, Dean was nowhere to be seen... but there, sitting alone on its stand was his cherished Bach Stradivarius trumpet.  That horn was practically everything to him... and it called my name.  It said, "Dave... use me to play a joke on Dean."  Well, that's kind of a low-blow thing to do to a fellow (highly respected) trumpet player.  But, he broke rule number-one:  Never, ever leave your trumpet unattended (a sax player might think it's some type of vacuum... or something).  "Dean should know better", was my rational as I quickly went back to my office and grabbed a soda straw from my desk (why I had a straw in my desk, I can't remember... it may have been a plan to use it to protect myself from Ted Herman...).

Anyhow, I took that straw back to Dean's trumpet.  I removed his mouthpiece, stuck the straw into the end of the mouthpiece and fed it down into the trumpet’s lead-pipe.  From the outside, it looked like absolutely nothing was wrong… which was exactly how it should be! However, the next time that trumpet would be played, it would sound like a goat... with a nasty lung infection.

Now… what I expected to happen was this:  Dean would return from where-ever it was he went, grab his trumpet and blow a few notes through it, hear the horrible sound, pull out his mouthpiece and find the straw.  Knowing Dean, he’d know it was me and get a good chuckle out of it.

Here’s what happened instead:

Dean returned from the mailroom.  But, unfortunately for my plan, his first student (a trumpet player) had arrived early.  Thus, Dean did not pick up his horn right away.  Instead, he began the morning’s lesson with the student.  That particular morning’s lesson?  “Tone… How to Produce a Large Round Sound with Your Trumpet.”

About 10 minutes into the lesson, Dean was attempting to tell the student how to open up the mouth, lowering the lip’s armature, and using the lung’s diaphragm to push a large amount of air past the lips and through the horn to produce a fat sound.  His attempt to verbally explain to the student what he (Dean) was looking for didn’t go over well.  So, instead, Dean grabbed his horn, showed the student the placement of his lips on the mouthpiece and how to open the jaw for the fat sound he was looking for.  Dean took in a deep breath… and blew.  The sound that came out was anything but that nice round sound of a professional trumpet player.  Rather, it sounded much more like a goose in the midst of a cat fight. 

Surprised and embarrassed, Dean quickly said, “I’m sorry.  Let me try that again.”  He blew… and the cattle in the ranch across the road from the college began to answer back at him.

Flustered, Dean did what any good trumpet player would do in a situation like that:  he blamed the problem on the horn and began to disassemble the valves... while the student waited.  As each valve came out, he could see they were in their correct order and not turned around.  So, he put them back and gave it another blow, “Squaaaaaakkkthpthpthpthp….”  Out came the valves again.  Nope, everything is in order there.  It must be the slides.  So, he took out the tuning slide, the third-valve slide, the second valve slide and even the first.  All the while, this poor student was trying to figure out if Dean was actually a sax player incognito.

Upon examination, each slide showed there was nothing blocking the flow of air through the horn, so Dean put his trumpet back together.  One more try:  “haaaaaaooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaammmm”.  Well, needless to say, Dean was now getting honestly upset and confused (which… from a sax player’s point-of-view, this is the state-of-mind of all trumpet players!).  Finally, he thought maybe the problem was within the mouthpiece.  So, he twisted the mouthpiece and slowly pulled it out of the lead pipe.  Much to his surprise, out came the straw!  He told me later it was at that moment as he was saying out loud, “What the heck?”,  a little bell went off inside his head:  Dave Parrott.  What the student heard was, “What the hhhh… ooohhh that Rat!”

Dean removed the straw, replaced the mouthpiece, puckered up and blew:  A warm melodious tone filled the room.  In the end, 10 of the 20 minutes of the poor young trumpet student’s lesson time had been used to figure out that Dean had been pranked.  Later, when the lesson was over, Dean grabbed an index card, wrote “You Rat” with a red felt-tip pen on it, and tape that straw to  the card.  He left the card and straw on my desk while I was out running an errand.  When I returned, he told me his side of the story and we laughed until we cried.  Several years afterwards, Dean would still pop into my office and say, “You Rat!”.  It became his endearing way to say how much he appreciated our relationship.

Here it is, twenty years later, and that card is still displayed above my desk.  I use it to remind me of the many wonderful times I had with Dean in my life… and I still laugh when I think about how I became known as “The Rat”.

It’s the most endearing nickname I’ve ever had…

David Parrott, Department Chair, Audio & Video Technology Department, Mt. San Jacinto College