In Memoriam: Dean Wiest

This year’s Gateway Fun-O-Rama won’t be as joyous without him. Find out here where friends will celebrate his life on April 17 …

At the January meeting this year, Dean Wiest helps hold up the GABA Fun-O-Rama street banner he designed and had fabricated. East Portland News archive image

By David F. Ashton
48-year-old Dean Wiest, a resident of the St. Johns area, was well known in outer East Portland because of his volunteerism with the Gateway Area Business Association (GABA) and their events.

“Dean passed away suddenly, on the afternoon of March 24, of a heart attack,” sadly reported his wife, Carla Hargis Wiest. She said he is survived by three sisters.

Dean doing a “press check” – making sure a printing job meets his high expectations for a client. Professional business photo

Dean was the proprietor of Wholesale Printing USA, and listed his occupation as “Printing. Running. Printing. Running”.  He considered himself primarily a graphic designer, who also provided printing and reprographic services.

Born in Brandon, Iowa – about midway between Waterloo and Cedar Rapids – Wiest graduated from Washington High School, located in Vinton, Iowa.

Dean spends a moment with classmate Wade Henkel at their 30th Class Reunion on July 20, 2013. School reunion website photo

“About 25 years ago, Dean packed up his bags, and decided to settle in Portland,” Carla told East Portland News.

But, over the years, he traveled to Australia, New Zealand, England, Scotland, France, Spain, Malaysia, Indonesia, Africa, Qatar, Belize, and North Dakota.

As Carla spoke with us on  the phone, his two big dogs, Jay and Annie, both “rescued” in Doha, Qatar, were announcing the arrival of guests at their home.

In early 2012, Dean spoke to us with enthusiasm about his upcoming 54 mile run across the county of Qatar, located off the coast of Saudi Arabia. “The run across Qatar was on my bucket list,” he said upon his return. “It was awesome.”

Carla mentioned that Dean was the only American to have run across Qatar.

This family photo shows Dean Wiest doing one of the things he enjoyed the most – hiking in the Pacific Northwest.

Dean also ran in, and completed, the Portland Marathon, the Shamrock Run, and other at least six other marathon events. “He was planning to do a run, diagonally, across Oregon with his friends to raise funds and awareness for Guide Dogs for the Blind,” Carla reflected.

“Dean’s been a good friend to our family, and to the Gateway community,” said GABA President Fred Sanchez, of Realty Brokers.

“We spoke, at length, on the Friday before he passed away, about this year’s Fun-O-Rama events,” Sanchez said. “He had great new ideas about how to stage the parade.”

His voice trailed off, and he drew a deep breath. “I will miss Dean, beyond any words I can say.”

Here’s Dean, pitching plans for the 2013 GABA Fun-O-Rama with the association’s President, Fred Sanchez.

It was GABA Board Member Deborah Higa of Community Works Project, who first shared the sad news with us. “Dean was a wonderful caring gentleman. Once he committed to a project, he never would let you down.

“And, oh my goodness, he was talented – his graphic design skills were top-of-the-line,” Higa said. “Dean was one of those people upon whom you could always depend.”

Michael Carlson, of Portland Badge, is taking over Dean’s business, Carla said.

On April 17, from 6:30 until 8:30, a “Celebration of Life” for Dean will be held at Noho’s Hawaiian Cafe, at 4627 NE Fremont Street. It’s open to the public.

© 2014 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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