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Obituary: Derek Dean

We are very sorry to let members know that Mr Derek Dean, MBE, Head Porter from 1983 to 1999, died on 6 October 2008.

Derek, who was born in 1934, served for thirty years in the Army, rising to the rank of Warrant Officer in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps. The last eight years of his military career were spent in Germany; he was responsible there for the administration of over 200 flats and houses for military personnel and their families, spread over five separate locations. Derek was held in the warmest regard by successive Commanding Officers, as a very capable, effective and cheerful colleague, unfailingly reliable and able to combine initiative and decisiveness with tact and diplomacy in the exercise of his responsibilities. Whilst in the Army, he was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal.

Retiring from military service in 1982, Derek was appointed as Head Porter at Leeds in June of the following year. It turned out to be a very successful appointment. The qualities and attributes which had been the hallmarks of his military career equipped him admirably to fill the wide range of responsibilities associated with his title; these ranged from the supervision and co-ordination of a team of over thirty portering and mail room staff, to being a highly visible presence on ceremonial and other formal occasions, notably Degree Congregations. Dereks loyalty to Leeds was absolute and his presence and outlook were of considerable value in promoting a shared sense of identity and purpose among his colleagues. Affirmation of his many contributions came in 1995 in the most public of ways, when he was made an MBE for services to education.

Derek leaves two sons, Michael and Gary, and a daughter, Martine, and seven grandchildren and great grandchildren.

The funeral service took place on 13 October, when, in Dereks memory, the flag on the Parkinson Building was flown at half-mast.

Published: 16 October 2008