Dean Richard Friday
Dean Richard Friday
  • April 10, 1935 - September 11, 2017
  • Kingwood, Texas

Share This Obituary

Arrangements made by

Kingwood Funeral Home

22800 Highway 59 North
Kingwood, TX 77339
Get Directions

Profile of Kingwood Funeral Home

View Phone Number

Dean Richard Friday, 82, died September 11, 2017 in Kingwood, Texas surrounded by his loving family.

Dean was born to Mary and Lauren Friday on April 10, 1935 in Madison, Wisconsin. He was the second child in the family, and thus had the great privilege to grow up under the protective wing of his older sister Carol, whom he adored. The Friday family moved from the big city of Madison to Baraboo, Wisconsin in his early teens when Lauren set out to open a machine shop in the small town. Dean became a standout forward for the Baraboo Thunderbirds basketball team and built prize-winning race cars alongside his father.

Dean met the love of his life, the studious Jean Stieve, in the library at Baraboo High School in 1952. People still wonder what Dean was doing in the library that day, since it was not a preferred destination of his; but his family celebrates the fact that circumstances brought them together. Dean was smitten with Jean, but she lived outside town on a farm and thus posed a challenging target. Cleverly, Dean's best friend Ed Carl hatched a plan to drive Dean past her farm house and coincidentally run out of gas at that very location. The ploy worked. Dean and Jean were the Baraboo High School prom king and queen in 1953, and married in 1956 at the tender ages of 21 and 20. Dean remained utterly devoted to Jean through his entire life.

Dean began his career working as a welder while also serving in the National Guard on weekends. The challenge and discipline of the National Guard appealed to Dean, and led him to join the US Army in 1961. Upon entering the military, Dean attended a training program in Madison where he received his commission as a second lieutenant.

The life of a warrior suited Dean well. His early assignments were in the infantry, where he was trained in the use of both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons. In 1962, Dean was part of an Army crew that fired a secret live test of the "Davy Crockett," one of the smallest nuclear weapons developed by the US Army. The test was part of a series of maneuvers to train soldiers in nuclear battlefield conditions. There were VIPs in attendance including Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and presidential military advisor General Maxwell D. Taylor. The test, called "Little Feller I," was the last above-ground nuclear test at the Nevada Test Range.

After distinguishing himself in the infantry, Dean was selected for the intelligence branch of the US Army. Dean acquired a top-secret security clearance and was selected for prestigious programs for military officers including the Command and General Staff College in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. He served two tours of duty in Vietnam in 1965 and 1969, during which he survived two helicopter crashes and countless other mortal dangers, hardships and personal losses. Later intelligence assignments included postings that did not require Dean and his agents to wear uniforms, but rather business suits in order to inconspicuously blend in with the civilian world. Over his career, Dean was decorated with commendations and medals including two Bronze Stars, the Vietnam Cross for Gallantry, the Legion of Merit, the National Defense Medal for Service During Time of Armed Conflict, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, and the Joint Service Commendation. While serving, Dean earned his BS degree in Political Science from the University of Nebraska and an MS degree in Criminal Justice from the American Technical University.

Over his 20-year military career, Dean and his family moved 19 times. Dean was stationed with his family in posts around the world including Munich, Germany and Vicenza, Italy. He took his family to tour the great cities of Europe in a VW camper, for which his children are immensely grateful and still embarrassed that they didn't pick up better language skills. Dean's final military posting was at Fort McPherson in Atlanta, where he was the Special Security Officer tasked with overseeing security for a third of the United States and several of its territories.

After retiring from military service, Dean worked as a security specialist at Lockheed Martin in Austin, Texas where he oversaw security for top-secret projects including early prototypes of military drone technology. He volunteered with the Red Cross and faithfully attended Texas Longhorn baseball games at Disch-Falk Field with his best friend, Roger Miller. Dean was a gregarious member of Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church during his 28 years in Austin, and spent many happy hours sharing Culver's burgers and shakes with his church friends. He was known for his impish sense of humor and his crackerjack card-playing skills. He adored his children and grandchildren and treasured family gatherings above all else. Despite the fact that his life journey led him away from Baraboo, it always remained "home" in his heart.

Dean leaves his wife of 60 years, Jean (Stieve) Friday, their four children, their spouses and eleven grandchildren: David and Kate (Miller) Friday of Austin and children Ryan and Austin; Bob and Leia (Ketterer) Friday of Kingwood and children Sam and Becca; Paul and Diane (Friday) Begala of McLean, Virginia and children John, Billy, Charlie and Patrick; and Ron and Karla (Harmon) Friday of Atlanta and children Travis, Steven and Reegan.

Dean's family surrenders him, with great sorrow and profound gratitude for a life nobly lived, into the loving arms of Almighty God.

A visitation will be held at Kingwood Funeral Home on Thursday, September 14 from 5:00 - 9:00 pm. A memorial service will be held in Baraboo, Wisconsin at St. Paul's Lutheran Church on Saturday, October 7 at 4:00 pm, followed by a dinner reception. All are welcome. Interment will occur at Arlington Cemetery in Washington, D.C. at a date to be announced. Remembrances may be directed in Dean's name to the Alzheimer's Association at or to the American