Dean Mechem, 84, Forest City, passed away May 19, 2018. A Celebration of Life for Dean Mechem was held Saturday, June 23, at Forest Plaza Assisted Living, Forest City. Jeff Buege provided music with scripture, devotion and memories.
Born to parents Clark and Lela (Van Wert) Mechem, Dean was a rambunctious young boy who loved growing up in his beloved Thompson. Dean had an entrepreneurial spirit and mind. When a young teenager, he started the first curbside garbage route in Thompson. Dean contracted polio at age 18, affecting both arms and legs. His mom worked with him every day, enduring painful home therapy to regain use of his legs and arms. They were successful in getting his legs and right arm back but were not able to get his left arm back. Dean persevered, never once thinking of himself as disabled, he fulfilled many accomplishments he set out to do. Dean worked with his dad at their IH Dealership, in Thompson.
Dean loved the land and animals, which led him to farming 5-1/2 miles north of town. He did crops farming and raised pigs, along with his longtime farm companion, Queeny, his devoted German Shepherd. During these years, Dean fulfilled his love of flying, proudly getting his pilot license and purchasing an airplane, using the Rake International Airport with flying friends Gordy Swenson and Ronnie Larson. Dean also was part of a motorhome group, loved playing cards and golf, started the 95 Land Corporation with a group of hand-picked investors.
Dean married Elsie (Nesset) Florence in September 1975. He readily accepted his “ready made” family: Erick, Kathy and Patti. He was a loving and proud grandpa to Jimmy, Randall, William and Emma. Dean and Elsie delivered Winnebago motorhomes across the country for over 25 years. They enjoyed their winter home in Sun City, Ariz., for 23 years, hosting frequent visitors and family. Kathy and Jimmy have many fond memories of the Arizona “pink house.” Dean plucked weeds from his desert yard everyday to keep it beautiful and clean. When in Iowa, he proudly tended to his green yard and trees; in addition to the injured animals that always seemed to find him. Dean would figure out their needs and nurse them back to health. He loved being outdoors and working on projects in his garage, these were his office.
Elsie, his wife of 40 years, passed on May 26, 2015. This was a devastating loss for Dean; Elsie had been his caregiver in years recent.
Dean moved to Forest Plaza Assisted Living, Forest City, in June 2015. At the Plaza, he met many wonderful, accepting and compassionate friends; a new community allowing Dean to thrive with life again. Dean was ever ready to assist residents who needed his help and greeting those coming through the door. He loved the shrimp at Happy Hour with a glass of pop.
While at The Plaza, he met and fell in love with Phyllis Hays, telling Arnie Murra he was going to ask her to marry him. Their fondness grew from a mutual, beautiful love of one another; spending most waking hours together, in thought and conversation. After Dean was moved to a care center, Phyllis and Kathy visited him frequently, making his day with every visit. Dean equally loved Phyllis’s children and grandchildren, enjoying many visits, hugs and kisses with them. They brightened his world; loving, respecting and honoring him. It was a grand relationship that gave Dean his life back, his handsome smile and the twinkle in his eyes returned for all to embrace and enjoy.He loved giving the children candy treats or a dollar bill. His kind, helpful nature made instant friends. His generous smile and warm brown eyes won over our hearts.
Praise be to God for giving us the life of Dean, now it is time for him to go rest high on that mountain.