WINGATE: John “Hollis” Dean was born October 24th, 1934. He was the youngest child of Roland Ray and Lola Lorena (Gannaway) Dean. He was born in the same Runnels County farmhouse where his mother and his 9 siblings were born. He lived almost all of his life in his beloved Wingate, TX. While attending high school in Winters, he encountered the love of his life, Betty Sue Burleson. He wasted no time sweeping her oﬀ her feet and they were married at the First Baptist Church in Winters in February of 1952. Hollis’ job in the oilﬁeld took them ﬁrst to Big Spring and then to Abilene, but they came home to Wingate not long after their ﬁrstborn, Ricky Ray Dean was born in 1953. After Ricky, Rebecca Sue (Becky) came along in Oct of 1956 followed by Teresa’s appearance in 1960 and their grand ﬁnale, Carla Jo in 1962.
Hollis loved his life on the family farm. His family and that homeplace meant absolutely everything to him. Having lost his father when he was 11, Hollis took especially great care of his mother who lived on the farm with him, Betty, and the kids until she passed in 1982. He successfully juggled farming, ranching, community service and being fully involved and invested in whatever activity his four children took on. Lots of memories made with them at Hords Creek Lake camping, ﬁshing and exploring. He was their ﬁerce protector, the patriarch of the family and the glue that held everyone together. Hollis always wanted the best for his babies. He pushed and encouraged them to be successful. He was always proud of their accomplishments, proud of who they turned out to be and proud of the lives they lived. Nothing made him puﬀ his chest out more than the pride he had for his grandchildren. He made sure to spend the time and put in the eﬀort to make sure each one of them felt loved and special. He taught them mostly valuable lessons, but also taught them some interesting vocabulary along the way.
Hollis was widely known for the BBQ restaurant he and Betty started in 1989. They
grew a one room operation into a massively successful business that at one point had three separate locations and was recognized twice by Texas Monthly as one of the top 50 BBQ joints in the state. Customers drove from near and far to try some of Hollis’ BBQ and steaks but also to get a dose of his hospitality. Hollis was the absolute deﬁnition of hospitality. He lived to serve others and food was the main way he loved on people. Ribs for every new customer, briskets to all his doctors and anyone else he came in contact with. If he loved you, he fed you.
Hollis also served others in his community through the fraternal organizations he was a part of, he was a member of the Wingate Masonic Lodge #1042 for 54 years. He was the Master of Lodge twice during that time, was a 32 degree Scottish Rite KCCH and a member of the Suez Shrine Temple in San Angelo.
Hollis was preceeded in death by many family members and he lost his bride and best friend of 68 years, Betty this last May. He missed her so over the last seven months and no doubt had a beautiful reunion with her on Dec 8th, the two of them dancing across Heaven.
Hollis Dean is survived by one sister, Margaret Bodine. He leaves behind his four children, many grandchildren and numerous nieces, nephews and close friends who adored him. His son, Ricky Dean, daughte,r Becky Stephenson and her husband Billy, daughter, Teresa and her husband Carey, and his daughter, Carla and her husband Bryant. He will surely be missed by his grandchildren, Byron Stephenson and wife Stacie, Brad Stephenson and wife Megan, Justin Jones and wife Devon, Jared Chapman and wife Kristin, Hollie Kell and husband Stephen, Hailey Wilkinson, Rodney Wilkinson, Courtney Wilkinson, Cade Jobe and wife Bana, Kearci Smith and husband Lewis. He and Betty had more great and great great grandkids than we can list here and they loved every one of them. What an amazing legacy.
Any memorial donations can be made to the Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital or
Wingate Baptist Church. A service will be held at Beltway Park Church in Abilene on Jan 9th at 2:00, directed by Fry~Smith Funeral Home, Tuscola.
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