Sept. 25, 1955 - Oct. 26, 2019
On Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019 Dean McCrea—a Portland native who touched the hearts of all who knew him—passed away at the age of 64 after battling a long illness.
Dean was born Sept. 25, 1955 at Emanuel Hospital and was adopted at birth by his parents David Meriwether McCrea and Ruth Arliss McCrea. He graduated from Parkrose High School in 1973 and graduated from Mt. Hood Community College in 1983 with a degree in Communications.
Dean was a quiet, simple fellow…wait…scratch that. Dean was a prankster who endlessly tormented his family and friends with practical jokes and ruined school pictures by crossing his eyes. He was crazy smart and continually sought to broaden his understanding of the world.
An avid film buff and media producer, Dean worked in media production for 37 years, co-founding and operating two companies: McCrea-Thomas Video Productions and later Planet Productions with his friend Caleb Blodgett. Before that, he worked at scuba shops and managed movie theaters. He finished his career at Ricochet Partners, where he was instrumental in establishing their successful e-learning department. A common thread throughout was his ability to put together amazing teams. Everything that Dean was involved with benefited from the great groups of collaborators he assembled.
Dean's love of film culminated in the release of his first documentary, Henry's Hair in 2018. This film was a loving tribute to Dean's late wife of 27 years, Nancy Pond McCrea, and captured the remarkable story of Dean's son Henry and how they both coped with her death from cancer in 2007. The film was featured in film festivals all over the world, winning a number of awards including Best Biographical Documentary at the 2019 Oregon Independent Film Festival. At the time of his death, Dean was working on another documentary about the therapeutic effect scuba diving has on people who struggle with physical and mental challenges.
Dean's joyful, loving nature and wicked wit were loved by friends from all walks of life. A lifelong music lover, Dean played guitar and other string instruments with many local Portland musicians including his friends Terry Robb, Alan Hager, Dave Sandstrom and the Irish band Swanky Ceili. Dean was also a problem-solver, never afraid to wade into sticky situations. Upset by the angry rhetoric he found in online forums, Dean volunteered as a moderator and self-appointed peacekeeper, often hosting in-person conversations for neighbors. He believed discussion would be more reasonable if people were to meet face to face. Dean was also a political activist and passionate Bernie Sanders supporter.
Although Dean enjoyed a close, loving relationship with his family, Dean fulfilled a longtime dream of meeting his birth family. It was too late to meet his biological parents, but in 2000 he finally found his biological brothers and sisters, expanding his already happy family to include five more siblings and their extended families. Dean remained very close with them all until his death.
Dean was preceded in death by his father, David; his mother, Ruth; his wife, Nancy; and his brother, Daren. He is survived by his son, Henry David McCrea; sisters, Dale Matthews, Dana McCrea Miller, Drew McCrea-Allie, Cathi True, Sandi Retherford, Barbara Peterson; and brothers, Kelly and Michael Mann; as well as many aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews. He is also survived by his faithful dog Myrtle and his longtime love, Meredyth Warren.
Dean's family is hosting a Memorial Celebration of Dean's life at 3 p.m., Nov. 16, 2019, at the German American Society, 5626 N.E. Almeda St., Portland, OR 97213. All who knew Dean are welcome to attend and share their crazy Dean stories. The family has also set up a GoFundMe account to help cover expenses related to Dean's passing. Visit http://bit.ly/TeamDeanFund to donate. For more information visit the #TeamDean Facebook Group.
To send flowers to Dean's family, please visit our floral section.