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Community Spotlight - Dean Rock

Article Date: 
30 October, 2011 (All day)

 

On May 6, 1921, Dean Rock came into the world, a precious baby boy, born in the house across the street from the laundry mat.  Born and raised in Morgan, Dean Rock is quite the alumnus, not only of Morgan High school, but of the beloved town as well.  At ninety years old, Dean remembers his younger days just like it were yesterday and enjoys reliving them through, telling stories about his adventures and experiences.  

Through much of his youth, he and his family moved around to several locations ranging from North Morgan to South Morgan.  He remembers living in the, what is now, pink house on Commercial Street, as a boy of four or five years.  There was a café just down the street by the drugstore where he would go for a burger.  The man that worked there knew Dean very well, so much that when he saw him sitting at the counter, he knew just what he wanted, a burger.  So Dean Rock would then get to go home with his burger in hand, a happy boy.

As a young boy, he attended elementary school where the family history center now is.  In fourth grade his teacher taught them to play the harmonica which got to be a lot of fun for the children.  For fifty cents they got a harmonica, music books and lessons by the teacher in class.  Another activity Dean enjoyed quite well was marbles.  As a young boy, marbles was a popular game among the children at school and was played frequently.  The fifth through eighth grade attended school in North Morgan by Stoddard area.  In those days, it didn’t matter where they lived in the city, the kids walked to school with their paper lunch bags in hand.

Dean Rock got picked on quite a bit in school because he was smaller than the other kids.  “I got to be a pretty good scrapper,” he says.  There was a man who knew him pretty well and thought he was a neat kid.  Whenever he’d see him he’d ask, “So how many fights did you get in today?”  This led him to take on boxing as a sport when he got into high school.  He got so good he could hardly be beat.  During halftimes of the basketball games they would have boxing for entertainment.  These boxers that participated were called Smokers.  Dean and his buddies enjoyed talking with them and hanging out in the locker rooms afterwards.  Boxing got to be his “thing”.  He became very good at it and was able to take it with him where ever he went, having occasional friendly spars for fun with the other guys he would later make friends with at the CCC.

The CCC, Civilian Conservation Corps, was a relief organization President Roosevelt had begun.  He would be in there for nine months, eventually become a barracks leader before going home to work on the railroad at Devil’s Slide as a section laborer until the following fall when he would drive truck for a friend of his hauling grain in his grain company.

Dean Rock began high school in the eighth grade where the middle school now is.  It was here that he started taking shop classes and boxing more as well along with other sports like soccer.  His junior and senior year, Bill Caley was his favorite coach.  In school, Dean always did fairly well, especially with math.  The only class he had difficulty with was English.  When it came time to graduate, Dean graduated a year late because he assisted his dad with the farming for a year.  When he went back all he had to do was take English to graduate.  And so he did.  

It was after he graduated that he joined the CCC for nine months and became a barracks leader.  When he came home he went to work on the rail road at Devil’s Slide as a section laborer until that fall when he drove truck hauling grain for a buddy of his for 12 dollars a week for about three months.

It was during his time driving truck that he met the love of his life.  One night, he and his friend went to Ogden to pick up his friend’s girlfriend.  “A cute redhead answered the door,” Dean recalls, “I says, ‘Is Marge here?’ and she says yes.   When we were walking to the car I asked ‘Who was that cute little red head?’  And she says, ‘That was Myrtle Gleason.’”  The next day he was right back over there to meet the “little redhead”.  “We set up a date and from then on we dated ‘till we got married.”  The couple was married on April 5, 1941, Easter Sunday, in Garland.  They lived in the Victorian house on the corner of Old Highway Road and State Street from 1948-1969 and from there they moved to Mountain Green. 

Other jobs Dean Rock had were at the American Canning Company and at Hill Air Force base for thirty-six years until he retired in 1979.  

An old friend of theirs once said, “It’s a marriage made in heaven.”  Although their marriage wasn’t the easiest in the beginning, what for not having utensils or bedding, they worked through it and had a wonderful marriage of sixty-nine years.  Myrtle Gleason Rock passed away August 8, 2009.  Sixty-nine years of marriage, five kids, thirty-five grandkids, seventy-nine great grand kids, and fifteen great, great grandkids later, they have “quite the rock pile” to go on as witnesses of Dean and Myrtle Rock’s great love for each other. “It was a good, good marriage,” says Dean Rock, “my best friend.”