By SMTO Staff Writer Savanah Bandy and Contributor Sharon Watson

 Col. Dean Barrett of Grove, Oklahoma, celebrated his 103rd birthday September 20, 2022, in Grove, Oklahoma. 

Mr. Barrett is a World War II Airforce veteran, lifelong resident of Oklahoma, a jokester with a glowing smile, and a beloved patient at Grand Prosthetics and Orthotics LightWeight Artificial Limbs & Braces.

“It’s our honor to fit Mr. Barrett with boots,” said Beverly Helms, who co-owns Grand Prosthetics with her husband Dave Helms. Dave is a fellow Airforce veteran who served during the Vietnam War.

“We have a huge heart for veterans, and to serve one as distinguished as Mr. Barrett is a joy for me and Dave.”

After a foot injury in 2018, Dean dealt with chronic foot pain and difficulty walking. Once he was fit with boots with custom supports from Grand Prosthetics, he was able to walk comfortably again.

“The first time he was fit with the boots and walked, the grin on his face was worth a million dollars,” said Patricia Holland, a family friend and caretaker. “He wears them every day and it’s made a huge difference in his ability to get around.” 

The VA provides replacements every 6 months. 

Dean was born in 1919 in Canadian County, Oklahoma, near Hinton as the fifth of seven children. He was baptized in the North Canadian River at the age of 12. Later, his family moved to a farm near Calumet, Oklahoma, where he went on to be his class president for all four years of high school.

Dean attended Oklahoma A&M College, now Oklahoma State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1941. Later that year, he married his college sweetheart, Alberta Nicks, of Grove.

In 1941, he also enlisted in Air Force pilot training just weeks before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor December 7 that year.

During World War II, Dean was commissioned as a pilot, serving as an aerial gunnery instructor and pilot instructor in Nevada and New Mexico. After the war, Dean served in the Air Force Reserve Units at Grove, Miami and Stillwater. He was commander of the Stillwater unit and received the USAF Meritorious Service Medal. He retired after 30 years of active and reserve duties as a full colonel.

Dean and Roberta were blessed with four children: Ronald, twins Roger and Jim, and Susan. The family suffered the loss of Roger just days after his birth.

After Roberta’s passing in 1982, Dean met his second wife, Anna Lee Roberts Spicer, at a church party. Anna Lee had also lost her spouse, Mitch.

Dean and Anna Lee were happily married for 36 years. Their combined families have eight grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren, all lifelong residents of Grove, Oklahoma.

Dean’s contributions to his community, state and country have been immense.

In addition to his military career, Dean taught agricultural classes through Oklahoma State University, and was a Delaware County farm agent, rural development specialist through OSU, and ranching. He earned his master’s degree from OSU in 1963 and, that same year, served as president of the Oklahoma County Agents Association. He was named Outstanding Agent of Oklahoma in 1960-61 after making Delaware County the first in Oklahoma to be brucellosis free.

He has been an active member of Grove Kiwanis, Grove Rotary, Cowskin Prairie Community Group, Grove Cooperative, Ambulance Board, Farm Bureau Board, Delaware County Agricultural Stabilization, and Bank of Grove board of directors. At First Christian Church of Grove, he served as a Sunday school teacher, superintendent, treasurer and church board elder.

It’s with great honor that Grand Prosthetics serves such an esteemed member of our community. Col. Dean Barrett, we thank you for your service and for your great contributions to our city, state and country.