R. Fillmore Obituary

R. Dean Fillmore
R. Dean Fillmore

July 14, 1949 - June 17, 2020
Born in Cottonwood, Arizona
Resided in Anchorage, Alaska


R. Dean Fillmore passed away on June 17, 2020, at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage, Alaska, with family members at his side after a 5-year battle with kidney cancer. Dean was born to Paul (Bud) E. Fillmore Sr and Bessie-Anna (Smelser) Fillmore on July 14, 1949, at the Cottonwood Community Hospital in Cottonwood, Ariz. He was reared on the family farm in Flagstaff then moving to Albuquerque, N.M., in 1951. He accompanied his parents and older brother Paul on their great adventure of moving to Alaska in May 1955. Driving the gravel Alcan Highway, they arrived at Chugiak in June 1955, and stayed with friends until moving to Eagle River in August. Dean entertained everyone with his endless choruses of the "Ballad of Davy Crocket," which was popular at the time. He loved Alaska and resided here for 65 years.

Dean attended Chugiak Territorial School until Eagle River Elementary was built. He attended the new Chugiak High School and graduated in 1967. He joined the U.S. Navy in the All Alaskan Centennial recruit training company in 1967 on a "kiddie cruise" and served until late 1969. Serving in the Vietnam War, he was a trained jet engine mechanic and supported the DASH drone ASW helicopters on the USS De Haven DD-727 off the coast of Vietnam and the South Pacific and was homeported in Yokosuka, Japan, and Long Beach, Calif.

Dean attended UAA Aircraft and Power Plant School after discharge from the Navy and earned an associates degree and an FAA A&P license. Dean worked for several aircraft operations on Merrill Field, Bud's Aircraft and Gifford Aviation among others. He retired in 2014, after 24 years with Pen Air. He was a master sheet metal fabricator and made hundreds of repairs on many types of aircraft. His skills earned the trust and respect of his employers who sent him to repair aircraft in many U.S. states and territories.

Dean had many hobbies, including building and flying model remote controlled airplanes. He was an accomplished machinist and loved his live steam train hobby and built one steam locomotive and had a second under construction. Dean, along with his brother and close friend Scotty Brooks, rode the back trails of Alaska from Eureka to a gold mine at the headwaters of Tyone Creek and explored the Alaska wilderness. He was a perfectionist in whatever he did. Seemed like if it was broken or not operating properly, he could find and fix the problem with his mastery of the mechanical world; computers were a different story.

Dean is survived by his devoted life partner of 33 years, Cheri Marsh; brothers, Paul of Wasilla, Alaska, and Charles of Rim Rock, Ariz.; and sisters, Mary (Bill) Walsh and Norma Schaefer of Grants Pass, Ore. Dean will be greatly missed and fondly remembered as a fun-loving and caring brother, partner and loyal friend. Per his wishes, he will be cremated and ashes will be spread over several of his favorite places. A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, June 27, 2020, from 2 p.m. - 4 p.m., at the Alaska Aviation Museum, 4721 Aircraft Drive in Anchorage.

The family would like to thank Dean's doctors and nursing staff at Providence Hospital for their care and compassion to Dean and his family. Donations may be made to Providence Palliative Care or the American Cancer Society.

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