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Boreal Community Media

Meet your Cook County neighbor: Larry Dean

Jun 17, 2023 05:04AM ● By Editor
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A Boreal Community Media Exclusive - June 17, 2023

How did you "land" in Cook County?  Where did you live prior to life here?

I first came to Cook County in 1971 on a canoe trip through Wilderness Canoe Base! It was a memorable experience, including scary wind storms on Sag lake and catching my first Lake Trout. I returned  to the BWCA numerous times with various Church groups.

My wife, Elaine and I came up here on our honeymoon. We both thought Grand Marais would be a wonderful place to live and raise a family. So when the Free Church was looking for a pastor I applied and I became the Pastor in 1989. It is hard to believe we have been here 34 years. After 5 years of ministry, I left the pastorate and decided to use my education background (I have a teaching degree from Concordia, Moorhead), so I worked for Cook County Schools. I have been a para-professional, bus driver but mostly served  as a special education teacher for 17 years. I have worked at every school in the district including Birch Grove and Grand Portage school AND every age group,  birth to 12th grade.  It was a fun ride.

When I "retired" from teaching 7 years ago, I decided to become a realtor with Red Pine Realty. I have met so many wonderful people through Real Estate. I still get together with some clients socially.

I have decided to officially retire on July 1st. Now I will have more time to volunteer around the community, hang out with Grandsons and help coach T-Ball.

Do you mind sharing a bit about your family and hobbies?

Elaine and I have been married 40 years. We will celebrate with a Mediterranean cruise in  September. Elaine worked at the clinic for almost 25 years.  We have 2 sons, Bryan, went to George Washington Law school in DC and works in the US attorney's office  in San Antonio. Tyler and his lovely wife Jessica have owned the Ben Franklin Store for a year and loves being in his hometown and raising his family here. Both of my boys loved growing up in our "small town nest." This caring community helped nurture them and they were taught very well in our schools. They learned to dive off the break wall in the summer and play small town sports with their lifelong friends.

If you had an unlimited free pass at local restaurants here in the County, where would you head to and what are some of your favorite items that you would order?

Food. I love ALL food and there is nothing I will not eat. But, I am already missing Sydney's Brick Hearth Pizza. Can't wait till they open in July. When I am up the trail fishing, I try to stop and get a Chocolate Peanut butter malt at Trail Center. Grilled Shrimp at Angry Trout is a special meal both my wife and I enjoy.

Care to share a bit about your involvement at The Hub?

I am new to working on the board at The Hub.  We have tried to be a place where people can establish caring connections with others. Whether it be having lunch with a friend, creating crafts, fiber guild projects, playing cards or helping people struggling with grief or memory loss.  There is so much going on and our manager, Chris Bautch tries hard to facilitate all the activity. 

Will you share a bit about the sober support group at The Hub? 

One group that I have tried to start is a Sober Support Group. Many people are uncomfortable asking the question: "Am I an alcoholic??" Research shows that this is often not a simple yes or no question. If it is a Yes or No answer, it is easy to simply say, "Of course I am not an alcoholic. I am NOT like those really bad drunks I know."  I believe that alcohol use is on a scale of 1-10. Bottom line is there are many people who do NOT like their relationship with alcohol. The Wednesday night group tries to maintain an open discussion format (avoiding arguments) with topical prompts. We also provide resources for folks who want to discuss their drinking in a "grace filled" environment. In the stress of my life I found that I was drinking more than the recommended amounts for men. I was silently numbing my stress and frustrations. I had lost track of some good goals.  Now I am loving complete sobriety and highly recommend it! I am amazed at the number of folks in our small county who have a significant story about alcohol about themselves or a family member. There are so MANY great books, and online resources available. We discuss resources and other important topics every Wednesday night at 6:30.  Our group is small but full of life! Wednesday at 6:30.
You can email me at: 
[email protected]
Or call me with questions: 218-370-9517. I love talking with people one on one discussing sobriety.

Lastly, congratulations on your upcoming well-deserved retirement!  What are some of the plans on your list once you retire?

What to do in retirement? As you can tell, I really do not believe in retirement.  I will continue to pursue some goals of connecting with people and supporting folks in any way I can. I may spend a few weeks getting warm in the late winter, since we don't seem to have spring in Cook County! One thing is certain, I WILL NOT be taking dance classes in retirement!
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