By Former State Representative Willie Hunter, Jr.
Earnest Lee Frank “Deano” Dean was a common young black African American whose earthly longevity of 54 years ended peacefully on December 4, 2019, after he had returned home from his normal workday. Some may ask themselves or others “Who was this man worthy of honor some knew as “Frank”, “Earnest”, “Dean” or “Deano.” I would like to inform you how I came to appreciate him in my many years of personally knowing, interacting and working with the man I referred to as “Deano”.
Deano’s reputation as a campaign go to man was one of the most impressive things, I knew about him. He was untouchable for over 35 years, particularly with respect to inspiring and empowering our communities on a simple but impactful subject matter: There is no power like your voting power other than God’s power! He routinely put his words into action best during campaign seasons, often going door to door impressing upon our communities what it means to have persons of color representing us in various political realms locally, state and nationally. His impact on races could be felt locally in mayoral, city and parish school boards, legislative, and judicial races, statewide in governors’ races and even nationally in congressional and presidential races. When he believed in a candidate, he was often bold and authoritative as he aggressively stepped door to door on their behalf. Walking, knocking and speaking with authority as the candidate’s representative, he would approach the seriousness of voting as if he was the candidate himself campaigning while preaching the right to exercise your voice through the power of one individual vote.
While Deano’s actions never lead to him pursuing and earning a right to public office, it certainly played a significant role in electing many of us who have served or currently serve in political positions. We are the beneficiaries of his gifts of service and ability to exercise the common touch and everyday language needed to motivate and galvanize potential voters to take a call to action on election days. Simply put, Deano was a political preacher, angel and God-fearing servant sent to preeminently serve God’s people. Many politicians may never speak of him or even personally know him as I do, but they owe him a great deal of honor, respect and love because of his untiring love to serve in the political realm through any weather, from sunshine to rain, sleet or snow.
While Deano’s political impact and campaign cadences were unmatched, there was one area in which he served hardest: love for family and his faith in God. He would walk just as rhythmical for his family and his faith, often engaging in deep conversations about those subjects as if he were trying to convince you to know God. While he was not a perfect man, He knew the perfect Man named Jesus, and was God-fearing. This was even more evident as he grew older and closer to God each day prior to his death. He would often aid in cleaning the church and spend alone time in prayer while doing so on weekends. This was his “reasonable service”.
Earnest Lee Frank “Deano” Dean, your work on this Earth and contributions to your family, fellowmen and to your faith has not and will not go unnoticed and unrecognized. We honor you and will see you later. Until then, we know you will be walking around Heaven campaigning for God to let us into the highest Kingdom. For your life, we say thank you to God and to you sir. We love you and until we meet again.