The community mourned the unexpected and sudden death of Holly Springs Town Manager Carl Dean last week after Dean died during a community golf tournament. He served Holly Springs for several years, his death was felt across Wake and Harnett Counties.
According to a statement released by the Town of Holly Springs, Dean, 56, died the afternoon of May 2. Dean died of an apparent heart attack and was pronounced dead at Rex Hospital in Raleigh.
“Town employees were in shock and mourning Thursday afternoon after receiving word that Dean had collapsed while participating in an annual golf event sponsored by the Economic Development Department,” the statement said.
Dean became Holly Springs’ town manager in April 2001 after serving for a dozen years as city manager in Dunn. Before serving in Dunn, Dean was an assistant county manager in Burke County in western North Carolina and was town manager in Clarksville, Va. He graduated from Sanderson High School in Raleigh and earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Appalachian State University.
Holly Springs Assistant Town Manager Charles Simmons had worked with Dean for several years.
“I’ve known Carl since 1986,” Simmons said. “I had the highest degree of respect for him from a professional standpoint. More important, he was a close friend.”
Dean’s death did not just impact those living in the Holly Springs community.
Dunn’s current city manager Ronald D. Autry said he has known Dean since they both attended Appalachian State University.
“Carl was a fine man,” Autry said.
Autry said Dean and he had a professional relationship and a friendship. He met with Dean the Tuesday before his death about a solid boundary agreement. However, the meeting was not all business.
Autry said Dean told him how he had plans of wanting to retire in June 2014.
“He said he did not know what he wanted to do when he retired, but he knew he wanted to have fun.”
Autry said that the two were suppose to meet the Wednesday after the golf tournament.
Fuquay-Varina Mayor John Byrne said Dean’s death will be felt far beyond Holly Springs’ borders.
“His death will be a loss felt across Wake County and Central North Carolina.”
Byrne said the two had a close relationship and he respected Dean’s opinion. Fuquay-Varina and Holly Springs officials have worked closely together over the years and Dean helped the Fuquay-Varina community with their selection process of Fuquay-Varina’s newest town manager.
“He was a very fine town manager,” Byrne said.
Holly Springs Mayor Dick Sears said Dean was the best town manager.
“He did his job extremely well,” Sears said.
Sears said Dean worked extremely hard at his job. He said when Dean began serving the Holly Springs community, the town had just 6,000 residents. During Dean’s time as town manager, the town has grown to more than 28,000 residents. Sears said Dean worked extremely hard to increase the quality of the life in the community during the town’s rapid growth.
But Sears said Dean was more than just a great town manager.
“He was a great friend,” Sears said. “He will be missed.”
According to Sears, Simmons will serve as the interim town manager until a new town manager has been named.
Dean was survived by his daughter, Jamie Rose Dean of the home; mother, Nell Taylor Beaman of Raleigh, N.C.; sister, Jane Dean Tracy and husband, Bill of Grayslake, Ill.; and niece, Brooke Marie Tracy of Grayslake, Ill.
A funeral service was held May 5 at Sunrise United Methodist Church in Holly Springs. The burial followed at the Holly Springs Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to the Jamie Rose Dean Scholarship Fund, c/o the State Employee’s Credit Union.