ADAMS -- As the town continues to mourn the loss of one of its longest-serving civic leaders, Joseph R. Dean Jr., who died Sunday, friends and fellow public servants took time out Monday to recall a life dedicated to family and community.
Over the years, Dean served the town in many ways -- in business, as a member of the Alert Hose Company for nearly a half-century and in a career holding various elected offices for almost as long.
But Dean was "beyond anything else, a family man," according to friend and co-worker Daniel Maloney of McAndrews-King in Adams.
Maloney was touched by seeing Dean and his four sons together operating Dean's Repair Shop on West Road over the years, and said the same spirit was evident in Dean's public life.
"That same caring went into his civic contributions," Maloney said. "... I don't know where Joe found the time to do all he did. ... And to have continued -- into his seventies and still acting as Town Moderator, going out in the night to comfort people when there was a fire -- is really something else."
Town Administrator Jonathan Butler, who was shepherded into office by a Select Board that counted Dean among its members, said much of the talk at Town Hall on Monday concerned the man.
"The reaction today around town is a reflection of what a positive impression he had on those that he worked with," Butler said Monday. "Joe will be missed in town, but his impact on the community will forever be felt.
"... The town lost a true icon with the passing of Joe," Butler added. "He did so much for so many in the community and was an inspiration and mentor to many other local leaders."
In addition to his time on the Planning Board and his most recent stint as moderator since 2010, Dean served on the Board of Selectmen for a total of 36 years, beginning in 1972.
Current Selectmen's Chair Arthur Harrington said Dean had helped initiate him to the Board when he was elected in 2009.
"Always a gentleman," Harrington said Dean also worked collaboratively, lending an experience built over decades of helping decide the town's workings.
"He had great knowledge and was always willing to share anything he knew," Harrington said. "He was a mentor in many ways."
Dean will be remembered by many as one of the town's most active volunteers, Harrington added.
"He's going to be sadly missed in town," he said.
Additionally in public life, Dean helped to establish the Solid Waste Management District in 1988, calling it "his proudest achievement as Selectman;" served one term as a Berkshire County Com missioner from 1982 to 1984; and served as the Alert House Company's secretary from 1991 to 1994 and foreman from 1998 to 2000.
Calling hours will be held today, from 4 to 7 p.m., at Paciorek Funeral Home, 13 Hoosac St. Dean's funeral will be held Wednesday, at 9 a.m., from the funeral home, followed by services at 10 a.m. in the First Congregational Church, 42 Park St.
Pastor Michael Mullany will officiate the service and a burial will follow in the Dean family lot in Bellevue Cemetery at 149 Bellevue Ave. Memorial Donations may be made to the Alert Hose Company at 3 Columbia St.
To reach Phil Demers, email email@example.com.