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Willow Dean

Willow Dean

Willow Dean, activist, died peacefully at home on Saturday, May 20, in the company of her good friends, Ann Warner and Glen Nagy of Arcata, California, Diane Sly of Ashland, and her seeing-eye dog, Odessey.

Ms. Dean was born January 16, 1945 in Fairfax, California, to Vivien and H. Mallette Dean. Willow's father, a well-known Bay Area fine artist and printer who designed the Mondavi Winery label, had a profound influence her artistic style and discriminating taste.

After moving to Ashland in 1999, Ms. Dean became active in local political and social issues. During her tenure as president of Chautauqua Trace Home Owner's Association, she worked diligently to protect the wetlands surrounding that development. Until shortly before her death, she was a Board Member for the Oregon Action Committee, which is pursuing access to effective and affordable health care for Oregonians.

Before coming to Ashland, Ms. Dean lived in Arcata, California. In 1978, she founded the Humboldt Access Project, currently known as the Tri-County Independent Living Center. She served as Executive Director for many years, using her vision and tireless work to break down barriers for disabled persons long before the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed.

Ms. Dean received her education, including a Master's Degree in Family Counseling, in the San Francisco Bay. After completing her education, she helped develop the Center for Independent Living in Berkeley, California.

In addition to her political and social activism, Willow loved to garden, and especially enjoyed growing roses. Willow was an inspiration to many because she lived life independently and fully. She is survived by her dog Odessey, whom she described as her best friend, her sister, Debby Dean Kerkof and her husband Paul of Alburquerque, NM, and her two nephews, Kevin and Keith Kerkof, both of Seattle, WA.

No funeral or burial services are planned. A memorial service will be held in June. For further information, contact Rebecca Ostrom at 552-1139. Memorial contributions in memory of Willow may be sent to Hospice Care Services, P.O. Box 98, Ashland, OR 97520 or Humboldt Community Breast Health Project, 987 Eighth St., Arcata, CA 95521.