Everett Dean Phelps, 88, died on March 6, 2018. He was born Oct. 1, 1929 in Billings, the second son of Everett “Shorty” Phelps and Mary Miller. His older brother Bill lives in Eugene, Oregon and his younger brother Harold splits time between Montana and Arizona.
Dean grew up in Fromberg where the family had a farm. He graduated from Fromberg High School. He then enlisted in the Army in 1948 and was honorably discharged in 1952 after serving in Okinawa, Philippines. He graduated from the University of Montana with an undergraduate and then a master’s degree in English. During the 1960s he taught at the high school level, Northwest Community College and then at the University of Evansville before returning to Billings in 1971. Long after leaving the classroom, Dean continued to write fiction and poetry. Over the years his writings appeared in publications in the US, Canada, France, Australia, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
He married Gladys Peterson in June 1962 and fathered three boys: Sean, Scott and Corey. Sean returned to Billings in 2014 after living and teaching eight years in Auckland, New Zealand. Scott has lived in Billings since 1994 and is the owner of The Splash Page in Billings and Muse Comics in Missoula. Corey is a university professor in Montreal after having taught several years in Paris. Dean and Gladys divorced in 1984.
Dean was a longtime employee of the Montana Tax Payers Association and traveled the state extensively, both while living in Billings and when he relocated to Helena in the mid-1980s. He lived in Helena for over 25 years before returning to Billings the summer of 2013 due to some health concerns and a desire by his sons for him to be closer to them.
Dean was a Montana Griz fan through and through, taking in the occasional football game in Missoula and never missing a televised game for football and men’s and women’s basketball. In addition to the Grizzlies, he followed the Boston Celtics religiously for decades.
Dean will be buried at the Yellowstone National Cemetery on March 16. In lieu of flowers, the sons ask that contributions be made to the Grizzly Scholarship Association via the University of Montana’s Athletic Department.