Another legend passes on

SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:23 AM ET

Bob Dean won't be there.

The man who kicked the winning convert of the 1954 Grey Cup game after Jackie Parker returned Chuck Hunsinger's fumble to tie the score, died yesterday.

It was only a month or so ago when Dean made the point at the press conference to announce that the 1954-55-56 Edmonton Eskimos had finally won entrance to the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame.

"I guess better late than never," he said. "But 23 guys from that team are dead."

One more won't be there on June 1 in Red Deer when the induction ceremony will be held this year. Robert Wadsworth Dean died at noon yesterday.

Born in Pittsburgh on Dec. 17, 1929, Dean played college football at the University of Maryland including two Gator Bowl appearances and played a season in the NFL with the Washington Redskins before coming to the Eskimos for the three-in-a-row run.

Normie Kwong, now Alberta's Lt. Gov., was close to Dean during those years.

"I met Bob the first year he came up and we all lived together in this frat house near the University for training camp," he said after being informed of the news yesterday.

"We moved together to an apartment after camp and we had pretty close connections. We were both single guys back then and we hung out together."

Don Getty, the former Premier of Alberta who was Parker's backup quarterback with that club, said Kwong and Dean had an unusual relationship.

"Bob had fought in the Korean War and used to kid Normie about it," remembered Getty yesterday of His Honour, The China Clipper, yesterday.

"Normie used to give it to everybody pretty good on that team but every time he'd get on Dean about something, Bob used to kid Normie about it."

Kwong laughed.

"Yeah, he'd say 'Hey I shot guys who looked like you.' "

Getty said Dean didn't play like he looked like he'd play.

"The thing that amazed me was how nimble he was. He looked like such a square-built sort of guy. But he was nimble," he said of the right tackle. "I remember him as strong and quick and a guy who never talked in the huddle. He was a strong, aggressive player and such a clutch guy. And he had such a live leg. I'd hold for a guy like Jackie, who kicked some back then especially after Bob called it quits, and the ball would sort of wobble up, maybe land on the crossbar and fall over like it did one Labour Day in Calgary. But Bob hit it bang on."

One point both the former Premier and the Lt. Gov. made in talking about the death of their former teammate yesterday was about the person he became after his football career here. He was a long-time teacher and principal and in retirement the chairman of the Edmonton Police Commission.

"The thing that really impressed me is that Bob never left the city. He went into teaching and became principal at Victoria Composite where he totally cleaned up the drug haven of the high schools," said Getty.

"Bob Dean had such a big influence on a lot of kids," said Kwong.

Few treasured their associations with that great team more than Dean.

"He kept the alumni together," said Getty.

Dean along with wife Shirley were the organizers of the 50th reunion of the team recently. At that reunion he told me how he treasured having been part of that glory gang, especially during the years he was at Vic Comp.

"Generation after generation came though who knew all about our team growing up, whether it was their dad, grandfather or great-grandfather who told them. It's amazing how many people still remember."

We remember Bob Dean.

"He was a hell of a football player and a hell of a citizen of the city of Edmonton," said Getty.


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