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ASHEVILLE — Rayburn Holman Dean, 89, of Asheville, died Saturday, August 17, 2019, at Carepartners Solace Center following a short period of declining health. Born Nov. 17, 1929 in Springfield, Tennessee, Ray loved the Smoky Mountains he has called home since 1956.

Ray was a veteran of the Korean Conflict, serving in the U. S. Air Force in Japan from 1948-1952.

A graduate of the University of Tennessee with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering/metallurgy, Ray began his career with American ENKA Company in 1956 in manufacturing, research and engineering, where after two corporate mergers, first with Akzona, then BASF, he retired as BASF Group Vice-President in 1994.

Ray was a loyal and dedicated community volunteer during both his professional career and retirement, serving actively in his church and on the boards of many nonprofit organizations throughout western North Carolina.

Prior to his retirement, Ray was honored by the Asheville Chapter of NSFRE as their first Outstanding Philanthropist of the Year, by the Daniel Boone Boy Scout Council with a Silver Beaver Award, and by the United Way with an Award for Lifetime Dedication to Philanthropy and Volunteerism.

Ray will be remembered for his integrity, his life of service, his joy for life and above all, his dedication to his friends and family, including those who may not have been related by blood, but who were related in spirit and in love.

Ray is survived by his wife of 65 years, Martha Mynatt Dean; his daughter, Marcy Dean Onieal (Jimmy) of Waynesville; his son, Walter Dean (Janel) of Atlanta, Georgia; a brother Dick Dean (Linda) of Springfield, Tennessee; five grandchildren; and many beloved nieces, nephews and extended family members.

A service of witness to the resurrection and thanksgiving for life will be held at Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church, 789 Merrimon Avenue, Asheville on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019 at 1 p.m., the Rev. Marcia Mount Shoop officiating. There will be a reception immediately following the service in the Fellowship Hall, where friends may greet the family.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorials be made to: Habitat Aid Initiative, 6855 Shiloh Road East, Alpharetta, GA 30005,, the Music Fund of Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church, 789 Merrimon Avenue, Asheville, NC 28804,, or the charity of one’s choice.

Morris Funeral Home is assisting the family and the online memorial is available at

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