I am personally sadden by the news of the passing of Tony Dean he was 67. Dean was an ambassador for conservation, fishing, hunting and the outdoors. Tony's passing is loss to all of us who love the outdoors. May you rest in peace Tony.
Columnist Tony Dean dies at 67 --- October 20, 2008
Outdoors broadcaster and conservationist Tony De
an died early Sunday as a result of complications from an appendectomy.
The 67-year-old was among immediate family members at his home in Pierre, where he had been seated in the living room overlooking the Missouri River.
"He could see the water; he could see the ducks," said his wife, Darlene DeChandt. "He knew he was sick, but he said, 'You know, I'm not afraid.' "
The family is organizing a service to celebrate Dean's life. His body will be cremated and the ashes sprinkled over lands where he liked to hunt and fish.
Dean had his appendix removed in Pierre in late September and was moved to a Sioux Falls hospital a week later to treat complications. He returned home Thursday. His death was not a surprise.
Dean earned a reputation for standing up for conservation, no matter the financial consequences. He was criticized for supporting Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson and then again for backing Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign.
DeChandt said her husband's final work before he fell ill last month was recording commercials for Obama's campaign. If Obama were to win, she said, Dean was going to be on his transition team.
"He was absolutely thrilled. He felt strongly that Obama was the one with enough insight and was young enough" to appreciate land conservation, DeChandt said.
Jason Mitchell of Devil's Lake, N.D., recorded several TV shows with Dean for "Tony Dean Outdoors" before buying the program early this year. Dean eased the transition by joining Mitchell as co-host for the new "Jason Mitchell Outdoors."
Mitchell said Dean had the courage to stand up against the National Rifle Association when it supported candidates who he felt did not have conservation at heart.
"He took a lot of those stances, sometimes at a great financial cost," he said. "Tony could see the big picture. He was doing those things for future generations."
Conservation activist Dave Zentner of Duluth, Minn., had been a close friend of Dean's for 40 years. Zentner said they both promoted a respect for the land and water that hunters and anglers enjoy.
"He knew there had to be a message about taking care of that resource," he said.
Dean hosted and produced "Tony Dean Outdoors" since 1985 and produced the daily radio show "Dakota Backroads" since 1990. He also wrote columns for the Argus Leader and was considering forming a conservation think tank before he died.
DeChandt said a fund will be established in Dean's name to set aside land for public hunting.
"We're losing more than a friend. The prairies have lost a voice that is, to me, the most amazing voice of a generation," Zentner said. "And it's a tough loss to take."