Eulogy -- by James Kline (Thank you, Jim)

Dean Milton Dellinger

Four score and five years ago Our Father brought forth on this continent Dean Dellinger. I start with this fitting paraphrase of the Gettysburg Address since he was born on Abraham Lincoln’s birthday in 1929 in Illinois, the land of Lincoln.  So how does one summarize the honored life of someone so dear to each of us in two hours?

 Let me begin by saying that you find out how much you don’t know about a man when you sit down to write about him. 

 Dean grew up in DeKalb, Illinois.  After graduation from High School, he began his westward journey by going to Lincoln, Nebraska to attend the University of Nebraska where he met his bride-to-be, Barbara Lou Bretzer.

 Armed by the UN with a degree in music, he began teaching in the Lincoln area.  He also started his professional music career, playing in dance combos and big bands throughout Nebraska. On a side note, Dean and Barbara were married and started a family, raising three lovely children, Denice, Allan and Becky.

 With family in tow, Dean continued his westward journey to Lake Arrowhead, California to begin a 30 year teaching career in the Rim of the World School District.  It was during this time that He developed the long lasting relationships and friendships with many of the people here today.  He and Barb were instrumental in establishing Mt Calvary Lutheran Church and Arrowhead Lutheran Camp. He worked many different side jobs to supplement his income. He watched his children grow up, get married, and present him with 8 marvelous grandchildren.  After retiring from Rim of the World, it was down but not out for Dean and Barbara as they decided to move to the beautiful lowland resort town of Hemet.  They eventually ended up in San Jacinto where Dean could “unretire” to sub in the Hemet School District and teach at Mt San Jacinto Community College.  He loved his music far more than retirement.  He began directing the Golden Eagles Big Band and did so for another 20 years.  Even after his second retirement, he continued playing with the band until he was 84.

 After Barbara passed away in 2012, Dean moved to Leisure Pointe Assisted Living Home in San Bernardino to be closer to family for the twilight of his life.  Dean entered the glory of Heaven on May 30, 2014 (the old traditional date for Memorial Day).

 So this is Dean Dellinger’s timeline.  What about the man?  Obviously, he was different to each one of us in his capacity as father, grandfather, great-grandfather, teacher, mentor, or friend.  I don’t remember the exact date that I met Dean and Barbara, but I do remember his sparkling eyes and his infectious smile.  I also remember his sense of humor.  If you were a friend of his children, then you were family, although I think Diane was more family and I was the “drag-along.”  That was further reinforced after the University of Nebraska joined the Big Ten Football Conference and he found out I was a Michigan State Alumnus!  All of a sudden Saturday football took on a new meaning……he did love his Cornhuskers!!

 In 2012, after Barb’s passing, Allan, Dean, and Allan’s wife, Barbara, decided it was time for a road trip east… to Lincoln, Nebraska.  This trip was difficult for Dean, but he was excited to see his sister Glendora and family, cousins, college buddy Sunny, and long-time friends and fellow Husker fanatics, the LaVoies.  These were joyous, but bittersweet reunions, as everyone knew it would probably be the last time.  Dean was a great friend; he even continued a childhood friendship with Don Peterson, for over 80 years! He also made a lasting impression on new friends, such as his loving caregivers at Walnut Senior Home who saw to his needs up to the very end. Nelda even commented that in all her years of caring for the elderly, there was never anyone like Dean who cared for others more than himself.  She added that she will never forget him.  Dean was genuine and that’s why he was loved so much.

 I know that Dean was a great man…..and he didn’t even have to tell me. I can see it reflected in his family, I read it in the messages posted to the memorial website and I see it by your presence here today to honor him.  I am sure that everyone here has fond memories and personal recollections about Dean in their lives. Let us cherish these memories of a loving father, grandfather, great grandfather; a caring teacher and mentor; a staunch friend; a devout man of God! 

I would have been honored to call him Dad... I am humbled to call him Friend!



Let the memories of Dean the musician, Dean the teacher,
and Dean the father, grandfather, great-grandfather, husband,
and friend be with us all forever.






Sunset of his Life

Dean lost his beloved, Barbara, in 2012 and then decided it was time to leave the Hemet/San Jacinto area to be closer to family.  He moved to an independent living complex in San Bernardino and, of course, quickly made many new friends.  They enjoyed his impromptu trumpet concerts and his contagious smile. 

In October 2013, Dean moved to an assisted living home in Rialto, near his son.  Again, no surprise, the staff fell in love with him and he them.  He continued to joke, flirt, sing, and smile until the end. 

Dean loved life, loved his family and friends, loved his music, and loved his Lord.  We rejoice in his eternal life, but will greatly miss him forever.

Dean was preceded in death by his beloved Barbara, his parents, grandson Jonathan Freyberger, and son-in-law Kenneth Caouette, and two nephews.

He leaves behind his sister, his children:  Denice Caouette of Las Vegas, NV; Allan Dellinger of Rialto, CA; and Becky Huskey of Cottonwood, CA; his grandchildren:  Amy Oldham of Austin, TX; Jewel Taylor of Las Vegas, NV; Charles Dellinger of San Luis Obispo, CA; Kenneth Huskey of Chico, CA; Trevor Huskey of Alaska; Melody Huskey of Humboldt, CA; and Andrew Dellinger of Woodside, CA.  He also leaves behind seven great-grandchildren and two nieces and their families.

Music Life

After leaving Nebraska, Dean accepted a teaching position in Lake Arrowhead, CA where he stayed for over 30 years.  He taught music at Rim of the World which was a K-12 school at the time.  He continued teaching at Rim of the World High School and later transferred to Mary Putnam Henck Middle School. 

During this time, he furthered his education and received his Master's of Education Degree from Claremont College.

Dean also taught choral and typing night classes through San Bernardino Valley College.
After retirement from RUSD, he and Barb decided to get out of the snow and fog and head to the leisure-life in Hemet, CA.  His love for music and teaching was neverending and he soon began substituting in the Hemet School District.  A few years later he joined the teaching team at Mt. San Jacinto Community College and began directing the Golden Eagles Big Bands.  He led these bands for 20 years before retiring....again.  

Dean continued playing trumpet with the Golden Eagles after his retirement and with other jazz bands in the Palm Springs, Hemet, and Riverside areas until he was 84 years old! A few years ago a former student shot the following video clip for his sydicated show. Please enjoy the clip...

Dean passed on his love and talent for music to all his children, his grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. And, he didn't stop there.  His enthusiasm for music and his teaching abilities made an impact on all of his students
and taught them how to enjoy life to its fullest.

Family Life

Dean met his bride-to-be, Barbara Lou Bretzer, on the UNL campus and they were married soon upon graduation.  Three children followed:  Denice Re, Allan Dean, and Becky Marie.

Dean then decided to further his career and move Lake Arrowhead, California.  He taught in the Rim of the World School District for 30 years and supplemented his income by teaching private lessons, playing in his dance combo, working at the Village Market, Lake Arrowhead Lodge, and even Santa's Village!

He and Barb were an integral part of establishing Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church, even helping in the construction of the church and nearby Arrowhead Lutheran Camp.  

They were eventually blessed with eight grandchildren. They enjoyed taking the grandkids in their travel trailer and showing them sites all over the western U.S. 

Upon retirement, Dean and Barb moved "down the hill" to Hemet, CA and eventually to San Jacinto, CA.    

Dean enjoyed playing his trumpet, golf, and participating in the Hemet area Lion's Club.  He also was a loyal Lutheran and gave of his time and talents to every church of which he was a member.

Dean especially enjoyed being a little brother to sister, Dora, even when separated by numerous states.  He loved visits with his nieces and nephews and their families...and they loved their Uncle Dean.

He continued to be devoted to his Huskers, as well, enjoying the football games with his Nebraska friends and family, although remotely.  He proudly wore his Huskers ballcap and shirts!

Early life

Dean was born in DeKalb, Illinois on February 12, 1929 (yes, born on Lincoln's birthday, in the "Land of Lincoln") to Glenn and Iona Dellinger and big sister, Glendora. 

He  attended public school in DeKalb and moved to Lincoln, NE after graduation to attend the University of Nebraska.  After graduating with his degree in music education, he taught in the general Lincoln area.   He also played in a dance combo and big bands throughout Nebraska.

During his residency in Nebraska, Dean also served in the Nebraska National Guard.