Dean Charles Gregory was born September 18, 1940 to Marguerite Edith Dean and Charles Sava Gregory in Brooklyn, New York. He spent his childhood and teens in the city but his fondest memories were of his summers in the tiny town of Nassau, New York with his cousin, David, and his family. The boys had the run of the countryside and enjoyed the freedom of their summer days.
In the late fifties his parents moved from New York to Scottsdale where his father established a locksmith shop and Dean enrolled at ASU. After a year of university he decided to follow in his father's footsteps and joined the Navy. His service ultimately led to serving on the aircraft carrier SS Kersarge one of whose duties was to pick up astronauts in their capsules upon splashdown. The SS Kersarge was also where he learned to love flying, although his job was in the office he would often volunteer to go on flights hunting foreign submarines when an extra crewman was needed. He said his Navy years and the friends he made then were some of the best of his life.
When he returned from the service he began working for his father in his shop, The Village Locksmith, when his father passed in 1967 he and his mother took over the business. Dean ran the locksmith shop with great success and a loyal clientele until his retirement some fifty years later.
In the 1980's he got his pilot's license and bought a Cessna 172. This opened up the world of flight to him again and he delighted in taking his plane up and making day trips around the state as well as longer treks across country, one of which was with his friend, Richard, to visit Mount Rushmore.
He married Sandra Dawson in the early 1990's, they were divorced a year later.
In March of 2009 he married Mary Carol Sheets, the two had been friends for many years. In the nine plus years they were married they enjoyed extensive travel including Hong Kong as that was one of the places his Navy duty had taken him and he wanted to visit again as a civilian.
Dean is survived by his wife, Mary, a sister, nieces and nephews and an extended family of cousins as well as many friends. Celebration of life services will be held Tuesday, November 13 at two in the afternoon at Messinger Mortuary, 7601 East Indian School Road in Scottsdale. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Fisher House Foundation based in Rockville, Maryland.
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