Robert “Bob” Dean, Jr.
Class of 1965
born in Queens and like many others during the post-war era we
eventually migrated to the Long Island suburbs. We moved to my maternal
grandparent’s home in Westbury in 1954 when my father contracted polio
and was sent to a rehab hospital in upstate NY for nine months. He was
able to go back to work a few months later after which my parents
purchased a Levitt home in Hicksville in time for the start of school in
attended Dutch Lane Elementary School for three years before going on to
Hicksville Junior and Senior High Schools where I graduated in 1965.
Following that I enrolled at Nassau Community College and received an
A.A.S. degree in Business Administration in June of 1968, having lost
some time stemming from injuries I suffered in a motorcycle accident in
October of 1965.
I married a girl from Brooklyn, and we had three daughters born in 1974,
1977 and 1987. In January 1978 we moved to New Haven, Connecticut as the
result of a job transfer with a large property/casualty insurance
company that I was working for at the time. In April 1982 I changed
employers and moved to New Mexico. By coincidence I went back to work
for my first employer that had a branch office in Albuquerque. Our
relocation was due in part to the fact my parents had moved to New
Mexico in late 1972 but also because I had enjoyed my time in the west
and wanted to live there.
new job as an insurance agent, I inherited and further developed a niche
market providing professional liability insurance primarily to
architects, engineers, surveyors and environmental consultants.
mid 1980’s I had built a significant client base and tried to convince
my employer to sell its accounts to me so I could start my own business.
I met a lot of resistance from the corner office but since I had an iron
clad non-compete agreement, I had no choice but to wait it out.
was finally granted and on July 1,1991 I established my own business
known as R. J. Dean & Associates. My agency became the largest
provider of professional liability insurance in New Mexico for
architects and engineers.
is without some tragedy and my share came in April 1987 when our third
daughter was born almost ten weeks before her due date as a result of
several pregnancy complications that afflicted my wife, not the least of
which was severe pre-eclampsia, or toxemia. After a long and difficult
C-Section my wife so sick she was placed in ICU on a ventilator for two
days. Our daughter came in at just over three pounds and was in newborn
ICU for four weeks until her weight reached four pounds and she was
otherwise in good health.
wife’s recovery was going well and a few days later she was
transferred to a private room in preparation for discharge in the next
day or two. The morning after she was placed in the new room, she
suffered a cardiac arrest while she was alone and unmonitored. She was
clinically dead when the CPR team arrived and was not responding to
their efforts to revive her. Just prior to giving up they tried one last
time and her heart started beating again.
was placed back in ICU, this time in a deep coma. She gradually came out
of the coma, but it was clear that major, permanent brain damage had
occurred from the lack of oxygen. She sufficiently recovered to the
point where she was sent to a neurological rehab facility in a local
hospital. She was discharged almost two months later but was a shadow of
her former self.
who I was and remembered our two older daughters but had no idea why
there was a baby in the house or who it belonged to. Her mental
processes were largely gone, and she was unable to take care of herself.
Her long-term memory was largely unaffected but her short-term memory
was very poor. She had the problem-solving capability and reaction to
emergencies equivalent to that of a four- to five-year-old child.
had to take care of her, a little preemie, and our two older girls, who
were about to enter their teen years, almost entirely by myself. A few
years later the social workers tried to convince me to have her
institutionalized, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. By March of
1994 I was completely exhausted and made the extremely difficult
decision to place her in a nearby nursing home. Not too long after that
I contacted an attorney and reluctantly began divorce proceedings
knowing she would never get better.
to get on with my life, but I also knew I had an obligation to continue
to manage her care. My wife’s family, consisting of five younger
siblings, had done nothing over the years to help with her care as they
all lived in other states. One
of her sisters became her legal representative during the divorce and I
lost almost everything except for the equity interest in my share of the
business. That however turned out to be a tremendous blessing in
divorce became final, they moved my wife to her sister’s home in
Colorado with the intent of taking care of her there. Instead, she was
placed in another nursing home where she is to this day.
began trading letters on a weekly basis (no email back then) and never
saw or talked with each other for three months. In September I made
arrangements so we could finally meet for the first time in almost 18
years. I bought her a plane ticket to south Florida where my mother
lived, and we spent the weekend at her house. We realized then that we
were destined to be together. There were some loose ends that had to be
tied up first, however.
Long Island with her three minor children and took a train to New Mexico
in June of 1996. In May of 1998 we moved from Rio Rancho to Placitas
which is in the foothills on the north end of the Sandia Mountains about
25 miles from Albuquerque.
we lost one of our daughters when my middle daughter died of cancer in
Seattle in November 2019 at the age of 42.
Five of our children now I reside in other states (FL, PA and
AZ). I fully retired in January 2019 and continue to play twice weekly
in a senior softball league. We are also using this time to travel and
be with our children and grandchildren as much as we can, the pandemic
notwithstanding. Life has
its ups and downs, but we are certainly grateful for all that we have.