Dean Lamont McIlroy, Jr passed away August 18, 2023 with family at his side.
A funeral service will be held at 10:00 AM, August 22, at Parkway Funeral Service, 2330 Tyler Pkwy, Bismarck.
Visitation will be held from 6:00-7:00 PM, Monday, August 21, at Parkway Funeral Service. A prayer service will begin at 7:00 PM.
Burial will be held at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery, Mandan.
Dean was born July 17, 1931, in Glenburn, ND to Dean and Nellie (Lyons) McIlroy. He, and his twin sister Jean, arrived early and were very small. Dean’s mother bundled the twins into a roaster and kept them near the wood burning stove to keep them warm. He grew up on his family’s farm with extended family nearby. His family attended Glenburn Baptist Church where he came to love God and confess Jesus as his Savior.
He graduated from Glenburn High School in 1950 then attended North Dakota State University where he earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree. He joined the U.S. Army in May 1954 and was honorably discharged in April 1956. He served our country in Korea as part of the 24th Engineer Group.
After discharge from the Army, he taught Vocational Agriculture classes at Carson High School where he met Janice Ellen Danzeisen. They were married June 8, 1958. Dean went on to earn his PhD from Cornell University in Ithica, NY where daughters Julie and Shellie were born. He took a position in the Research Division of Canada Packers in Toronto, Ontario then accepted a position as a livestock advisor with the California Agricultural Extension in El Centro, CA. Daughter Brenda was born in El Centro.
In 1969 the family moved to Kampala, Uganda, East Africa where Dean taught in the Animal Science Department of Makerere University. This was part of a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) program directed by West Virginia University. Dean served God in Uganda by partnering with American Baptist missionaries in the area, giving of his time and resources to further their work. The family spent four years in Kampala made many friends and traveled the region experiencing the beauty of the people and the area. Due to political unrest in Uganda, Dean moved the family back to the States taking a position as a professor at West Virginia University in Morgantown. He taught there for three years then returned to North Dakota, settling in Bismarck and working with his brother-in-law. He eventually became Director of the ND Agricultural Products Utilization Commission, a position he held for ten years. Dean and Janice divorced in 1984.
While attending Beginning Experience hoping to find peace and healing, Dean met Linda Jean Mantz. They married on April 27, 1985, at Bismarck Baptist Church and blended their families. Linda has three children, Pamela Jean, Donald Lee, and Michele Lynn. As they both found Beginning Experience so valuable for themselves, they continued their affiliation with the organization and served as facilitator/mentors to other hurting individuals.
Near the end of his career, Dean became site administrator of the inmate telephone system at the ND State Penitentiary. He and Linda enjoyed camping and were involved with the Good Sam Club. They were also active at Bismarck Baptist Church and, later, Evangel church.
Dean developed stroke-like symptoms in May of 2005. After many tests and procedures and a trip to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN he was diagnosed with granulomatous angiitis of the central nervous system. By the time a diagnosis was made and treatment started, Dean had lost much physical strength and function as well as much of his speech. He worked with physical, occupational and speech therapists and made great progress. Linda was by his side through it all praying for him, caring for him and encouraging him. Although he never fully recovered, he continued to love and praise God.
Throughout his life, Dean enjoyed photography, fishing and spending time with family and friends. He also enjoyed traveling and took advantage of flights to and from the U.S. and Uganda to show his family many parts of Africa and Europe. He and Linda also took a wonderful trip to New Zealand in spring of 2005 to meet her childhood pen pal and tour the country. He was the best “girl dad” ever, letting his girls know they could accomplish whatever they set their minds to. No matter the situation, he remained calm and dealt with whatever came his way.
He loved God fully and served to advance His kingdom here on earth by loving people. He was a faithful witness of God’s love to his children, stepchildren and grandchildren.
Dean was dearly loved by many people. He will be deeply missed by his wife, Linda McIlroy; his daughters Julie (John) Nuss, Shellie (Greg) Kunz, and Brenda (Len) Wall; his step-children Pam Dugan, Don (Carol) Redmann, and Michele (Lee) Seaman; grandchildren Joshua (McKenzie) Nuss, Jacob (Kyra) Nuss, Laura (Israel) Parsons, Kaylyn Kunz, Conner Wall, Amara Thompson, Nichole (Mike) Rydberg, Jessi Negrette, Loni (Matt) Perrenoud, Sean (Erin) Redmann, and Alec (Camila) Redmann; brother Carlyle McIlroy; sister-in-law Joyce Nichols, brother-in-law Jeff (Lily) Mantz; as well as many great grandchildren.
Dean was preceded in death his parents Dean and Nellie McIlroy; sister Ella Jean Paulson and Joyce McGlenn; sister-in-law Peggy McIlroy; brothers-in-law Gordon Paulson and Doug McGlenn; and nephews Scott McGlenn, Dennis McIlroy and Thomas McIlroy.