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Pause One True Love by Bruce H. Zimmerman (ASCAP)
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“Hi Mary,I worked with Dean at the Indiana Manufacturers Association. I remember Dean well and his wonderful quick wit. He was always a pleasure to...Read More »
1 of 6 | Posted by: Charlene Hickey - Lebanon, IN

“What an honor and delight it was to know R. Dean Hall, and a privilege to serve with him on the Fort Wayne Board of Public Works. I first met Dean...Read More »
2 of 6 | Posted by: LInda Buskirk - Fort Wayne, IN

“As a Senator I worked with Dean and found Him to be one who cared for good government.....One of the most trusted and respected to work with for...Read More »
3 of 6 | Posted by: Richard Worman - Leo, IN - Friend

“I have loved my Uncle Dean ever since I can remember. He was a fun uncle and a funny uncle. He could tell the tallest tales with a straight face. I...Read More »
4 of 6 | Posted by: Pamela Maimon

“Great man, great colleague and trusted friend to me for 16 years. Loved his family, loyal to his friends ,his work and his personal beliefs. ”
5 of 6 | Posted by: Es Vennon - Indianapolis, IN

“Hi, Mary. Sending you my thoughts and prayers as you say goodbye to Dean. He was a good friend and mentor to me as I began my chamber career 41 years...Read More »
6 of 6 | Posted by: John Myrland - Indianapolis, IN


R. Dean Hall died late in the early morning of October 13th. He was 91.
Dean was born in May of 1926, in Daleville, Indiana, a prototypical Hoosier small town very near Anderson. Dean was raised in Daleville, but moved to Anderson where he attended Anderson High School. His father was Linly Hall and mother Pansy Hall. He had two sisters, Delores and Wilmetta, both younger than he. Wilmetta is his only surviving sibling. Their names reflect a different time: Dean's first name was Renvia, the origin of which has been lost. His name was not his favorite attribute, which is why he became "R. Dean Hall" and was always simply "Dean."
His youth was unremarkable and typical. He ran track and was consumed with Big Band Music of his era. He would travel to Indianapolis to listen to the Dorsey Bands and Benny Goodman and Glen Miller. He had much freedom. For him, jazz ended in the 1940's, but it pretty much defined his youth.
When Dean graduated from high school, in 1944, WWII was raging. Facing what he perceived to be potential opposition from his parents if he would attempt to enlist, he went to the local draft board and arranged to be drafted. The draft board happily acceded, and he was sent to Fort Leonard Wood in Indianapolis for induction. There, they demanded that he give them his full name; but, he feared being called "Renvia" during his military stay and insisted his name was "R. Dean Hall." It took hours, but the Army gave in, and he never, ever used the name "Renvia" again.
Assigned to the First Cavalry, he went to Fort Riley, Kansas and, as was necessary for fighting in WWII, rode horses in cavalry training. After he left Fort Riley, he never rode a horse again. He was assigned to communications, and he spent months learning morse code. Being pretty good at it, he became a radio operator at the base and had much independence in the military. Sent to the Philippines, he prepared with the Army to invade Japan. The simple twist, for him, was the Hiroshima and Nagasaki interceded, and his efforts were not needed.
In the Philippines, he contracted Hepatitis, and was left behind as his unit went to Japan. They were one of the first of the Army to enter Japan after their surrender. In recovery, he was ordered to return to the First Cavalry, and, taking advantage of the ambiguity in orders, he hopped a plane to Tokyo. Along the way, the pilot thought it wise to fly over Hiroshima, just weeks after its destruction. After arriving in Tokyo, Dean was off on his own until he found his unit, where he remained until being sent home, via ship to Everett, Washington and then by train back to Indiana.
Upon return to Indiana, he met, while she was working at a soda fountain, Doris Wright, three years younger than he. They married quickly, and Dean was off to Bloomington, Indiana, on the GI Bill, to attend Indiana University, which was, at the time, over-run with returning veterans. Dean graduated in 1950, the first in his family to obtain a college degree, with a degree in business. While in Bloomington they had their first child, the eponymously named Deanna.
Leaving school, Dean moved to Michigan City and became the Assistant Director of that town's Chamber of Commerce, beginning a long career in the Chamber industry. In Michigan City, Dean and Doris had their first born son, David. In 1952 Dean left Michigan City to lead his first Chamber of Commerce in Jeffersonville, Indiana. There, Dennis was born, a name chosen because the inadvertent use of "D's" as first initials in the family could not be broken. After three years in southern Indiana, Dean moved on to Middlesboro, Kentucky, to lead their Chamber of Commerce in the Cumberland Gap. Most notable, in Kentucky, was the coal house, his office, a building built of coal. And, in Kentucky, Dean's fourth and last child, Doug was born.
Things ended poorly in Middlesboro, when the Chamber suddenly closed, leaving Dean without a job. He moved back to Indiana he settled in Marion, where he became an employment recruiter. This did not last; it was not a job he liked, so he quickly took a job in Peru, Indiana with a new Chamber that was just being born. And Peru was good to him.
Peru was an interesting town: it had served as the winter home of the circuses since the late 1800's, notably the Wallace Circus and Ringling Brothers, and many who followed with the circus until, in the 1940's the circuses moved to winter in Florida. In the late 50's, many circus people remained, and circus animals, and many circus wagons and other wonderments of Circus life. Tasked with starting a new Chamber of Commerce, Dean met a local artist, then a most famous regional artist, Bob Weaver, who piped up with his dream of celebrating the history of circus in Peru. The Circus City Festival and the Peru Amateur Circus were born, encouraging the original circus wagons to be refurbished, the circus families in the area to gather and train new performers, and a real circus parade to occur yearly, but only with real horses and wagons and elephants and clowns. Nothing powered, except the steam calliope. Dean was at the center of the birth of this festival, which now defines Peru, and continues as one of Indiana's largest local festivals to this day.
Dean moved on in 1961, taking over as manager of the LaPorte Chamber of Commerce. In LaPorte, he focused on community development and local government issues. He began lobbying for the Chamber at the Indiana legislature, where he would, over the next thirty years, become a very familiar face in Indiana government and politics. Dean participated in the network of Indiana state Chamber executives, and became an important voice in the development of Indiana tax and manufacturing policies.

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